February 25th - March 3rd, 2005
PA Approves BillyBey-New York Waterway Deal
Saturday, February 26: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's board of commissioners formally approved the transfer of the contract between the Port Authority and struggling ferry company New York Waterway to a new operator, the BillyBey Ferry Company, the New York Times reported.
The agreement gives BillyBey's owner, William B. Wachtel, control of New York Waterway's routes between Lower Manhattan and Hoboken and Jersey City, New Jersey. Additionally, BillyBey will assume responsibility for maintaining the Port Authority's terminals in Hoboken and Battery Park City, as well as take on the rest of a six-year contract to run boats between the Hoboken terminal and Pier 11 at South Street Seaport. Meanwhile, New York Waterway will continue to operate ferries from its base in Weehawken, New Jersey, the Times explained.
In exchange for BillyBey's agreement to continue regular operations on the route, the Port Authority has also agreed to reduce the $50,000 monthly fee that the company will have to pay to operate the ferries. According to Wachtel, BillyBey intends to hire New York Waterway to operate and maintain the boats, which will continue to display the NY Waterway logo, the paper said.
The news has reportedly angered several other ferry operators that had originally offered to take over some of New York Waterway's lines when the company first announced its financial instability late last year. Most recently, New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky has launched an inquiry into the contract, asking the Port Authority to explain how it reassigned the ferry contract without an open bidding process or public discussion, the Times added.
'93 WTC Memorial Dedicated at Ground Zero
Sunday, February 27: A memorial honoring the six people who died in the February 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center was formally dedicated at Ground Zero following a service at nearby St. Peter's Catholic Church, the Daily News reported. The memorial was attended by family and friends of the victims, as well as Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey, the paper added.
The new memorial -- a nine-and-half-foot-tall stainless steel pylon -- replaces the original, which was located outside the World Trade Center's north tower until it was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks. A single fragment from the original memorial was preserved and was incorporated in the new memorial during the private ceremony, which was held by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the 12th anniversary of the event, the paper said.
Designed by the Pentagram studio in collaboration with the Port Authority's senior architect, Jacqueline Hanley, the new commemorative memorial is located on Liberty Street in the family viewing area overlooking Ground Zero.
The $50,000 memorial will serve as a temporary commemoration of the attacks for families and friends of the victims until the World Trade Center Memorial, which will be dedicated to victims of both the 1993 and 2001 attacks, is completed in 2009.
WOR Radio 710AM Moves Downtown
Monday, February 28: After 76 years of broadcasting from its Times Square location at 1440 Broadway, WOR Radio 710AM has moved its operations to new offices at 111 Broadway. WOR is the first media outlet to move downtown since 9/11 and is the only commercial radio station currently based in Lower Manhattan.To read more about WOR's move, please click here.
90 West Street Gets A Face Lift, Along with New Faces
Monday, February 28: After sustaining extensive damages on September 11, 2001 from the collapse of nearby 2 World Trade Center, Cass Gilbert's historic building at 90 West Street will soon be restored, the New York Times reported.
As part of a $148 million renovation project, the 1907 neo-Gothic building will feature a new $4 million, 45-foot mansard roof, a $5 million, three-story granite base and $11 million worth of new terra cotta tile and decorations -- including the replacement of more than 100 gargoyles, the paper said.
Many of the structure's original gargoyles sustained damage due to neglect and the passage of time, as well as the 9/11 attacks. As part of the restoration process, renovators have augmented the gargoyle reproductions with seven more contemporary faces, including new caricatures of Peter Levenson, a principal of the Kibel Companies and one of the building's owners; Henry Kibel, another of the owners; Michael Y. Ahearn, president of Seaboard Weatherproofing Co., the exterior contractor; and Jeff Smith, Seaboard's on-site project manager, the Times explained.
For more than two years, 90 West Street remained blanketed under a 23-story construction veil supported by scaffolding. Just last year, developers were granted $106.5 million in tax-exempt Liberty Bonds and other financing from the New York City Housing Development Corporation to restore the building. Additional funding for the project was provided by the reconstruction partners themselves, including Brack Capital Real Estate, the Kibel Companies, and hoteliers Richard Born and Ira Drukier, the paper noted.
A former office building, 90 West Street will serve as a rental apartment building upon its completion, housing 410 units. The builder's rental office is expected to open in March, and tenants could occupy the apartments as early as May, the Times added.
East River Waterfront Plans Take Shape
Wednesday, March 2: The Bloomberg administration this week shared details of the $150 million plan to make over the East River waterfront, the New York Times reported.
The plan, which is in development by Richard Rogers Partnership in London, Ken Smith Landscape Architect, and SHoP/Sharples Holden Pasquarelli, aims to reconnect Lower Manhattan to the waterfront with new and improved amenities along the East River, many of them underneath a revamped F.D.R. Drive, the paper said.
The proposal includes a two-mile esplanade and bicycle path linking Battery Park with East River Park, a rebuilt Pier 15 near Fulton Street, and a one-acre plaza in front of the landmark Battery Maritime Building, the Times noted.
The city will appeal to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to fund the project. No dates have been set for the project's start, the paper added.
WTC Planners Work to Reconcile Logistics of Memorial Design
Thursday, March 3: Planners at the World Trade Center site are working to reconcile the architectural designs for the World Trade Center Memorial with the multiple other projects planned for the area, as well as with the geography of the site itself, the New York Times reported.
The latest challenge in the process concerns Greenwich and Dey Streets. According to current designs, the surface of the streets would stand two feet above Fulton Street to the north and a total of six feet higher than Liberty Street, located to the south, the paper explained.
"The construction of Greenwich Street through the World Trade Center site is another of the complex engineering issues that must be carefully studied and resolved as we move forward with the redevelopment," Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told the Times.
According to the Port Authority, which owns the site and will be responsible for constructing the streets, the height of the streets would allow for the installation of utility lines within the roadbed, and the proposed slope of the road would allow for water drainage, the Times said.
The design, however, means that Greenwich Street would stand five feet above the memorial plaza, and the location of the footprint of the south tower would not leave adequate room to include a stairway. Should the decision be to keep Greenwich Street at the currently planned height, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) said that a wall would need to be constructed along the adjacent section of the memorial -- blocking both the physical and direct sight lines into the plaza from surrounding sidewalks that are called for in the memorial's design, the paper noted.
As an alternative, the LMDC has proposed lowering Greenwich Street by four feet, but planners are still exploring the implications of the change in design, the Times added.