June 10th - June 16th, 2005
Bush Administration Backs $44 Million in 9/11 Aid
Friday, June 10: Despite federal officials' call for the return of $169 million in misused and unspent relief aid granted to New York State after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration announced its support of the state's bid to keep $44 million of the funds, the Daily News reported.
According to a Government Accountability Office report, the $44 million was earmarked for administrative costs but was improperly spent on victim compensation. The decision by the Bush administration came after extensive lobbying efforts by state officials, including Senator Chuck Schumer, the paper explained.
While the administration's support of the $44 million in aid to New York is considered a key victory for the state, the federal House of Appropriations committee still plans to withdraw another $125 million in unused funds that were intended for workers' compensation for first responders, unemployment payments, and retraining for workers who lost their jobs. According to New York State, the money was not used because it exceeded the amount of claims that were received, the News said.
Fulton Fish Market to Depart in July
Monday, June 13: In July, the historic Fulton Fish Market will relocate its headquarters to a new $85 million, 400,000-square-foot indoor facility in Hunts Point, the Bronx. Originally scheduled for January, the market's exodus was delayed until next month to allow for the addition of extra safety and security items at the new site. For complete coverage, click here.
Downtown Tops Zagat List for Best Nightlife
Tuesday, June 14: According to the results of the latest Zagat survey, downtown received the highest scores in the city for "best nightlife," based on a survey of more than 1,300 eateries, bars, clubs, lounges, and cafes in New York City's five boroughs, the Post reported.
While many of the most highly rated establishments, such as Pastis and Spice Market, were located in the Meatpacking District, Zagat also awarded Lower East Side hotspots such as the East Side Company Bar, the Delancey, and Girls Room some of the survey's highest marks, the paper said.
The Zagat "2005/6 New York City Nightlife" survey polled 5,600 people - of those, 43 percent were in their 20s, 37 percent were in their 30s, and 20 percent were 40 or older, the Post added.
Pataki Extends Disability Benefits to 9/11 Workers
Wednesday, June 15: Gov. George Pataki approved legislation that will make it easier for public employees who were involved in September 11 rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations to qualify for disability pensions. Under the new law, any disability resulting from specified injuries or illnesses contracted by 9/11 workers will be presumed to have been a result of performance of duty. For complete coverage, click here.
New York City Readies for Restaurant Week
Wednesday, June 15: Some of New York's best restaurants will begin serving great summer deals on three-course prix-fixe meals on Monday, June 20, as part of the city's Restaurant Week 2005.
The event, which takes place from June 20 to 24 and June 27 to July 1, offers special pri-fixe lunches for $20.12 -- in honor of the city's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games -- and $35 dinners at 201 participating restaurants. The prices, which do not include beverage, tax, or gratuity, are significantly below those on the restaurants' regular menus.
Managed by NYC & Company, the city's official tourism marketing organization, the event debuted in 1992 and has since grown in size, extending to several weeks throughout the year. Each of the participating restaurants is selected by a team of industry leaders, with the help of NYC & Company, based on Zagat survey ratings and popularity, the New York Times explained.
Participating restaurants can be found throughout the city and include downtown hotspots such as Delmonico's, Capsouto Frères, City Hall Restaurant, Nobu, and many more. For a complete list of participating restaurants, visit the NYC & Company website.
New Affordable Housing Plan for Downtown Announced
Thursday, June 16: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki, and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) President Stefan Pryor announced a new plan to reallocate $50 million in federal funding for a new affordable housing program in Lower Manhattan.
The proposal, which was revised as a result of responses received during an extended public comment period, would fund up to 317 new units of housing, 232 of which would be affordable units intended to benefit low-, moderate-, and middle-income households downtown. It would also rehabilitate and preserve 2,854 units of existing affordable and subsidized housing throughout the downtown community.
"We are transforming Lower Manhattan into a vibrant and diverse 24/7 community for people to live, work, and play in by making investments in much-needed housing in Lower Manhattan communities like Chinatown, Tribeca, and the Lower East Side," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.
The proposal calls for the development and preservation of five separate downtown projects. The first will subsidize 77 new affordable apartments on Tribeca's Site 5B, bordered by Greenwich, West, Murray, and Warren Streets. The second will fund the adaptive reuse of four- and six-story buildings along Fulton Street, and the third will fund the creation of a Chinatown/Lower East Side Acquisition and Preservation Grant Program to preserve and rehabilitate 160 neighborhood units.
The remaining projects include funding capital improvements at the Lower East Side's Masaryk Towers, a 1,110-unit building located on Columbia Street, and capital improvements to Knickerbocker Village on Monroe, Catherine, and Market Streets.
The $50 million program, which is funded through a Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is part of the comprehensive allocation plan for the $800 million in remaining LMDC funds announced by Pataki in May.
Construction Begins on Two Interim Memorial Projects at WTC Site
Thursday, June 16: From stories of lost family members to personal accounts of survival, visitors to the World Trade Center site will have an opportunity to record their memories of September 11 and the 1993 bombing when StoryCorps, the acclaimed oral history project, opens a recording booth in the WTC Path station next month, Gov. George Pataki announced.
Opening on July 12, the StoryCorps booth is one of two interim memorial projects planned for the site, each sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The other -- the Tribute Center -- will serve as a place for information and reflection until the permanent memorial, "Reflecting Absence," is ready to open. For the complete story, please click here.