July 8th - July 14th, 2005
Fraunces Tavern Museum Unveils Freedom Exhibit
Friday, July 8: Downtown's historic Fraunces Tavern Museum launched its latest exhibit, "Fighting for Freedom: Black Patriots and Black Loyalists," chronicling the lives of African Americans during the American Revolution.
Nadezhda Williams, the museum's curator and organizer of the show, created the exhibit to share what is known about the lives of the 500,000 blacks living in the colonies at the start of the American Revolution. According to the exhibit, an estimated 5,000 eventually fought in the patriot army, while thousands of slaves responded to the British promise of freedom and land for fighting on the Loyalist side, the New York Times explained.
Fraunces Tavern Museum was built in 1719. As one of the oldest pubs in Manhattan, its attached tavern also boasts an extensive history as the site of many memorable events, including frequent visits by George Washington. It was also the place of the Birch Trials in 1783, during which the British planned the evacuation of New York. Samuel Birch, a British general, convened a joint board of Americans and British at Fraunces Tavern each Wednesday to determine the fate of certain black residents of the city, the paper noted.
For more information about the Fraunces Tavern Museum, including the "Fighting for Freedom: Black Patriots and Black Loyalists" exhibit, click here.
Downtown Alliance Founder Honored at NYC Neighborhood Achievement Awards
Monday, July 11: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert W. Walsh honored Alliance for Downtown New York founder Carl Weisbrod among the 15 organizations, businesses, and individuals celebrated at the 2005 New York City Neighborhood Achievement Awards ceremony held at Gracie Mansion.
Weisbrod, who established the Downtown Alliance in January 1995, was honored in the "Special Achievement" category for the contributions he has made to the city over the course of his career. Also the former president of the Alliance, Weisbrod is credited for making the organization one of the city's pre-eminent economic development organizations.
Measurably more visible in the period following September 11, 2001, the Alliance contributed to the downtown recovery effort under Weisbrod's leadership. Going beyond its core services of cleaning sidewalks, enhancing lighting, and beautifying downtown's streetscapes, the organization is also instrumental in creating events like the River to River Festival, among others campaigns, that bolster community life in Lower Manhattan.
In May, Weisbrod was appointed to oversee real estate operations fulltime for Lower Manhattan's historic Trinity Church.
Concerns Rise over Tribeca Fuel Tank
Monday, July 11: Voicing concerns that a Tribeca building's diesel fuel storage tank could be potentially dangerous in the event of a fire or other disaster, area officials and residents called on the city to rescind a variance that allows for the fuel's storage, the New York Times reported.
Last month, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) granted the owners of the 25-story building at 60 Hudson Street a variance that allows an estimated 80,000 gallons of diesel fuel to be stored largely below ground, as well as in the building, the paper explained.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who noted that the fuel is stored there to run generators in the event of an emergency, explained that the New York Police Department has routinely evaluated the facility and determined that there is currently no need to close it. The variance was granted on the condition that 24 additional precautions would be implemented for transferring and storing the fuel, the Times noted.
New York City officials, including members of the DOB, said that they will continue to consider residents' concerns over the tower, the paper added.
Liberty Parks Parisian Kiosk Relocated
Tuesday, July 12: The tall informational kiosk that once stood at the corner of Liberty Park has been relocated, the Daily News reported.
Owned by the Alliance for Downtown New York, the cylindrical, map-laden kiosk can now be found in the small park near Greenwich Street and Trinity Place. The Alliance moved the kiosk in preparation for the reconstruction of Liberty Park, scheduled to begin by late July, the paper said.
The kiosk was a gift to the city from the mayor of Paris in 1989. For nearly a decade it stood outside the Cooper-Hewitt museum on Fifth Avenue, until it was donated to the Alliance and was placed in the park at the corner of Broadway and Cedar.
FTA Approves $899 Million Grant for Downtown Rebuilding Projects, Completes WTC Transportation Hub Review
Wednesday, July 13: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that it has approved an $899 million grant to help rebuild the Lower Manhattan transit system, including $478 million to fund an underground vehicle screening center at the new World Trade Center site, the New York Times reported.
The screening area, to be built by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, would be located a block across Liberty Street from Ground Zero. All vehicles entering the ramps, roadways, loading docks, and parking areas serving the new WTC buildings would have to pass through the facility for inspection, the paper said.
Current plans for the screening call for its main entrance and exit to be located on the south side of Liberty Street, between Greenwich Street and West Street-Route 9A. Vehicles would be channeled through ramps nearly 20 feet below street level, where they would be searched manually and electronically before being admitted, the Times explained.
The remainder of the $899 million federal grant money will be divided among several projects. The FTA plans to use $200 million to reconstruct West Street-Route 9A, $174 million to build a foundation at the WTC transportation hub, and $30 million to structurally fortify an underground pedestrian corridor planned along Fulton Street, the paper added.
The FTA also officially completed an environmental review of the World Trade Center transportation hub, allowing for construction on the facility to begin later this summer, the Times said.
9/11 Oral History Project Launches at Ground Zero
Wednesday, July 13: A new booth designed to capture the stories of those directly affected by the September 11, 2001, attacks opened at the World Trade Center site, the New York Times reported.
Located at the World Trade Center PATH station, the booth is run by a national oral history project called StoryCorps and allows survivors of the attacks and family members of victims to record up to 40 minutes of tape about their experiences. After recording each narrative, StoryCorps sends individual copies to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, as well as each participant, the paper explained.
The project is sponsored in part by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), which provided $350,000 to build the booth and pledged an additional $150,000 to operate it through December. Other funding is garnered from foundations, corporations, private donors, and participants, who are asked to contribute $10, the Times said.
StoryCorps also operates a similar booth at midtown's Grand Central Terminal, which has collected 2,500 interviews since opening in October 2003. Two other "mobile booths" were also launched in May 2005 to collect stories throughout the country. Project coordinators are also exploring the possibility of installing listening stations at the WTC PATH station at a later date, the paper added.
LMDC Approves $7 Million Grant for Chinatown
Thursday, July 14: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) approved a $7 million grant for the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation, which includes funding for a comprehensive, multi-year street cleaning and maintenance program.
The allocation signifies rebuilding officials ongoing commitment to the Chinatown community and will allow the Chinatown Partnership to implement several development projects, including marketing initiatives, the enhancement of public spaces, and lighting improvements. Additionally, the organization will partner with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) on a comprehensive "Clean Streets" program for the neighborhood.
"Enhancing Chinatown's sanitation services will result in a cleaner, safer and more attractive neighborhood, and in turn, make Chinatown a more attractive place to live, shop and do business," noted Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in a statement.
The Chinatown Partnership, which was developed from recommendations from the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative, is a community-based not-for-profit organization that was created in 2004 to improve business conditions and strengthen Chinatown's position as a center for both culture and commerce.