September 30th - October 6th, 2005
Bush Recommends African Burial Ground for National Status
Wednesday, October 5: President George W. Bush recommended that Lower Manhattan's historic African Burial Ground -- the earliest African cemetery in the United States -- be elevated to national monument status, the Daily News reported.
"This burial site was closed for 200 years and wiped from the public's memory," Howard Dodson, head of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, told the paper. "The President's decision will engrave in the public's memory the awareness and the role people of African descent had in making New York and the Americas."
Last week, members of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), National Park Service, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, as well as architect Rodney Léon, gathered at the African Burial Ground for a ceremonial groundbreaking on the site's recently chosen memorial.
In April, the GSA and National Park Service unveiled the permanent design for a memorial after a year-long final selection process. Developed by architect Rodney Léon of Aarris Architects, the $3 million memorial design features a spiraling sunken court, called the "Ancestral Libation Court," with a 24-foot-high "Ancestral Chamber" intended to offer visitors a space for reflection.
While federal officials still need to determine if the African Burial Ground can be granted federal protection, several government officials expressed confidence that the president's recommendation will be granted, the News added.
For more about the African Burial Ground, click here.
After IFC Removal, Rebuilding Officials Revise Plans for WTC Site
Wednesday, October 5: In response to Gov. George Pataki's decision to remove the International Freedom Center from the World Trade Center site, rebuilding officials are revising the plan for the planned cultural center at the World Trade Center Site, the New York Times reported.
Due to the removal of the Freedom Center and the Drawing Center's decision to look for an alternative space, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) -- the agency overseeing the rebuilding process -- announced that the cultural center will be repurposed to display the story of 9/11 in conjunction with the WTC memorial nearby. The cultural building, designed by Norwegian firm Snøhetta and revealed to the public in May 2005, will also be redesigned to be at least 30 percent smaller than its original 250,000-square-foot plan, the paper explained.
"Of course, we'll be engaging in a design process to be sure the building meets the needs of its new program," LMDC President Stefan Pryor told the Times. "But its appearance, especially in terms of the signature elements, will be substantially similar. And the building will remain spectacular."
The LMDC met the architects from Snøhetta, which remains in contract with the agency, to begin working together on changes to the design of the building. No information on when a revised design will be made available has been given, the Times added.
Court Ruling Delay Fish Market Move Again
Thursday, October 6: A Manhattan Supreme Court revoked a license allowing the New Fulton Fish Market Cooperative -- a group of wholesalers at the Fulton Fish Market -- to unload their own fish, further delaying the Fulton Fish Market's long-awaited relocation to the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, the Daily News reported.
Justice Carol Edmead ruled in favor of Laro Service Systems -- a company that has held a monopoly on the market's unloading business since it won the job in 1995 -- saying that allowing the wholesalers to unload themselves would violate a 1995 New York City law instituted by Mayor Rudy Giuliani intended to rid the market of its longstanding ties to organized crime, the paper explained.
Earlier this year, the City of New York approved the unloading license for the New Fulton Fish Market Cooperative after a thorough investigation into the group's background. Both the cooperative and the city are expected to appeal the ruling, the News said.
The court's decision delays the Fulton Fish Market's relocation to the Bronx by at least another month. While the move was originally scheduled to take place last spring, several delays have been caused by lawsuits, as well as by unexpected renovations to the new, $85 million Hunts Point facility.
For more about the Fulton Fish Market, click here.
WTC Memorial Board Receives Second Resignation
Thursday, October 6: Financier Henry R. Kravis joined Museum of Modern Art President Emerita Agnes Gund to become the second member of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation Board to resign since Gov. George Pataki's decision to remove the International Freedom Center from the WTC site was announced last week, the New York Times reported.
Kravis, an investment banker and arts patron, submitted his resignation to the foundation's chairman, John C. Whitehead, on September 21, citing conflicting time commitments. Gund stepped down immediately following Pataki's Freedom Center decision, lamenting that the original plan for the site had been eroded, resulting in an absence of cultural elements, the paper explained.
The resignations leave the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, the organization created to raise $500 million for the WTC memorial and cultural buildings at Ground Zero, with a total of 38 members, the Times noted. For more about the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, click here.