February 20th - February 26th, 2004
Officials Increase Estimate of Cost to Reopen Statue of Liberty
Sunday, Feb. 22: Federal officials announced that the total amount of money needed to increase security measures and renovate the Statue of Liberty before it can be reopened to the public is $7 million -- up from the estimated $5 million announced in September 2003, according to the Daily News.
Currently, visitors are permitted to walk around Liberty Island, but are prohibited from touring the statue's interior, as has been the case since September 11, 2001, due to heightened security concerns. The number of visitors to the island has dropped 40 percent since the 9/11 attacks, the News reported.
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation noted that they are "on track" to meet their goal of raising the necessary funds, having accrued approximately $5.6 million in private donations to date, reported the News.
Childrens 9/11 Art for Heart Exhibit on Display
Monday, Feb. 23: "Art for Heart," a project comprised of artwork by almost 200 children who lost parents during the 9/11 attacks or the 1993 WTC bombing, made its first public debut at the American Museum of Natural History.
The exhibit includes seven canvases, each adorned with 25 one-square-foot panels of commemorative paintings created by children ages two to 17, reported the Daily News. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who assisted in the unveiling of the display, praised the benefits that the "Art for Heart" project has provided to participating children, stating, "With the help of volunteer art professionals, the program has given them the chance to show on these canvases what words can't express."
At the close of its installation at the Museum of Natural History in May, "Art for Heart" will be displayed at schools and art centers across the country.
The project, conceived of by 16-year-old Ali Millard, who lost her stepfather during the 9/11 attacks, was sponsored by the LMDC and coordinated by the 92nd Street Y.
Two Observation Decks Planned for Freedom Tower
Tuesday, Feb. 24: Architect David Childs announced that the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower will include two observation decks, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The higher deck will stand 1,500 feet above Ground Zero at the base of the tower's spire and will surpass the Empire State Building -- which stands 1,050 feet above ground -- as the highest observation deck in New York City, noted AP. The second deck, Childs announced, will be located at the top of the 70-story office tower.
Childs, along with WTC site developer Larry Silverstein, attended an event at the Center of Architecture where they presented a nine-foot-tall scale model of the Freedom Tower that will be on display through May. Construction on the Freedom Tower is tentatively scheduled to begin this summer. Its completion is slated for 2009.
Wall Street Security Project Approved
Tuesday, Feb. 24: The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a plan to increase security around the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), reported the New York Times.
The new security measures will replace the trucks stationed at five intersections of the Financial District (Pine and Nassau Streets, Wall and William Streets, Exchange Place and William Street, Broad and Beaver Streets, and New and Beaver Streets) with high-tech, moveable barriers. They will also install retractable bollards - short posts that can be lowered into the ground to allow authorized vehicles to enter the areas around Broadway, Wall Street, and Exchange Place.
Additionally, the city plans to implement 30-inch-tall barriers, called NoGo's, comprised of several thousand pounds of bronze and cement, on sidewalks surrounding the NYSE. The NoGo's would replace the large planter tubs installed last year, according to the Times.
Although the city has not yet released information about the total cost of the security initiative, the LMDC has already committed $10 million to the project. Installation of the new security equipment is expected to begin over the next several weeks, noted the Times.
$1.3 Billion Spent on Ground Zero Rebuilding
Wednesday, Feb. 25: According to court documents, approximately $1.3 billion of the insurance money received by WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein for the destruction of the WTC complex has been spent, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Most of the money has been used to cover legal fees and lease payments to the Port Authority, which owns the WTC site. However, the Port Authority has agreed to refund the $125 million in equity that Silverstein invested in July 2001 to purchase 99-year leases on the office sections of the WTC complex, according to the Journal.
The total amount of insurance money that Silverstein will ultimately receive will be determined at the close of the ongoing trial between Silverstein and the four insurance companies contracted to provide coverage for the WTC towers.
Temporary Memorial Proposed to Commemorate 1993 WTC Bombing
Thursday, Feb. 26: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey proposed a design for a temporary memorial to commemorate the 1993 WTC bombing. The new memorial would replace the original granite fountain memorial by artist Elyn Zimmerman, which was destroyed near the north tower during the 9/11 attacks, reported the New York Times.
The Port Authority's interim memorial design, comprised of a nine-and-a-half-foot-tall stainless-steel pylon featuring a recovered piece of granite from Zimmerman's fountain, would be used until Peter Arad's "Reflecting Absence" is completed, noted the Times.
February 26, 2004 marks the 11-year anniversary of the 1993 WTC truck bombing that claimed the lives of six people.