January 7th - January 13th, 2005
Port Authority Launches Website of Photographs from WTC Debris
Friday, January 7: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that it will launch a restricted-access website on January 18 containing an estimated 8,000 photographs recovered from the World Trade Center debris during clean-up efforts at Ground Zero, the New York Times reported.
"This is an excellent way for us to do something that could -- and I emphasize could -- help the families who lost a loved one that day, and the survivors," Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler, Jr. told the Times.
The photos, which were restored at no charge by the Eastman Kodak Company, will be placed on a password-protected website for family members of victims to examine and claim. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) will first notify the families of the victims to provide them with the website address and a password allowing them access to view its contents. The website will later be opened to WTC tenants and employees, but not to the general public, the paper explained.
Relatives and friends who recognize photos from the website can then make a claim to the New York Police Department, which has custody of the photos and will oversee the process, the Times added.
Ferry Service to LaGuardia Airport Scheduled to Launch Midyear
Saturday, January 8: Circle Line Harbor Cruises will launch a high-speed ferry service from Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan and 34th Street to a dock at LaGuardia Airport's Marine Air Terminal by midyear, the New York Times reported.
"This is one more mode of transportation that will take pressure off the highways and help to rebuild the economy of Lower Manhattan," Circle Line President J.B. Meyer told the Times.
The company, which also transports tourists to downtown landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, will run the ferries every 30 minutes on weekdays. Trips to the airport will take 30 minutes and tickets will cost $25 each way, the paper explained.
In December, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey chose Circle Line Harbor Cruises over other bidders, such as financially strapped New York Waterway, to lead the project. While plans to build a rail link connecting Lower Manhattan to Kennedy International Airport are still in place, the agency is expected to launch a similar service to Kennedy in 2006 that would provide an alternate means of transportation while the rail link is developed, the Times added.
Federal Reserve Bank Showcases $7.59 Million Rare Coin
Monday, January 10: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York returned an exceedingly rare United States gold piece -- the 1933 double eagle coin -- to its ground-floor exhibition space for public display, the New York Times reported.
Located at 33 Liberty Street, the Federal Reserve Bank removed the $7.59 million historic coin from its free "Drachmas, Doubloons and Dollars: The History of Money" exhibition in August due to a security alert from the Department of Homeland Security. On Monday, the bank returned the coin to its display indefinitely, the Times said.
When it was first minted in 1907, the coin had a $20 value and eventually earned the name "double eagle" because its value was twice that of that of a $10 coin that bore the image of a single eagle. The U.S. Treasury Department ordered that all the gold coins created in 1933 be destroyed (with the exception of two that were reserved for the Smithsonian Institution) when the country announced that it would no longer use the gold standard. It is presumed that the coin on display was stolen by a mint employee, the Times explained.
Silverstein Granted an Extra $75 Million in Liberty Bonds for 7 WTC
Tuesday, January 11: The New York City Industrial Development Agency authorized an extra $75 million in tax-exempt Liberty Bonds to developer and World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein for the completion of the $1.355 billion 7 World Trade Center tower, the New York Times reported.
Silverstein, who was granted preliminary approval two years ago for $400 million in Liberty Bonds, requested the additional assistance due to increased interest costs and a less-than-expected insurance payout for damages at the WTC site, the Times said.
A significant amount -- $516 million -- of the overall funding will be will be devoted to paying off the mortgage on the previous 7 WTC, which collapsed after the September 11, 2001, attacks. The rest of the budget includes construction fees, interest payments, and operating expenses, the paper said.
Expected to open in 2006, 7 WTC will be the first building at Ground Zero to be completed since 9/11. Rebuilding officials held a "topping out" ceremony in October 2004 to celebrate the placement of the final steel beam atop the 52-story tower.
Downtown Real Estate on the Rise
Wednesday, January 12: The Lower Manhattan real estate market is continuing to improve, according to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Thanks to factors such as New York's rebounding economy, the allure of the less expensive downtown rental fees compared to skyrocketing Midtown Manhattan fees, and the increasing availability of space at the World Trade Center, more and more companies are eyeing downtown, the Journal explained.
Several companies are already making the move downtown, including Morgan Stanley, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, which moves into One Financial Center within the week, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which is building its $2 billion headquarters nearby. Real estate officials are reporting high levels of activity, the Journal said.
The downtown retail real estate market is also on the rise, with Soho leading the way. Since the opening of a new Bloomingdale's department store on Broadway last April, the area has witnessed a 15 to 25 percent surge in growth, the Times reported.