May 7th - May 11th, 2012
Wall Street Washington Statue in the Running for Restoration Grant
May 5 - From a distance, the 129-year old bronze statue of the first president on Wall Street looks just fine -- but upon closer inspection, the statue of George Washington is aging. Eddy Hooper, the lead interpretive National Park Service ranger at Federal Hall, said after years of exposure to the elements and pigeon droppings, the statue is starting to show wear and tear, reported NY1. It would cost millions to restore the statue, but the cash-strapped federal government does not have the money. So the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy has entered the historic statue into a competition for more than $100,000 in grants. The statue, which originally cost $35,000, stands on the approximate spot where George Washington was sworn in as the first US commander-in-chief in 1789. It was dedicated in 1883. The iconic statue is competing with many other city landmarks, including The Apollo Theater and the Queens County Farm Museum. To help George win, vote once a day at www.partnersinpreservation.com until May 12.
Hidrock to Build New Downtown Hotel on Greenwich St.
May 5 - Commercial real estate owner Hidrock Realty has plans to build a new hotel a block away from the World Trade Center, according to Real Estate Weekly. The company partners, which paid $27.9 million for the vacant lot at 133 Greenwich St., are prepared to spend an additional $70 million to develop a 28-floor, 300-room hotel aimed at the large visitor traffic in Lower Manhattan. The hotel is currently slated to open in early 2015.
Secret Waterproofing Plan for Chase Manhattan Plaza Goes to Court
May 7 - Open space advocates fighting against the fencing off of Chase Manhattan Plazain Lower Manhattan will have their day in court next month, according to the Village Voice. The open space advocates, led by Richard Nagan, an expediter licensed by the Department of Buildings, first raised alarms when JP Morgan Chase erected barriers completely surrounding the historic landmarked plaza the day before Occupy Wall Street began. But the court will not actually be hearing the question of whether Chase went through the proper channels before fencing off public art and a historically public plaza for more than seven months. Instead, lawyers will be arguing about when the specter of terrorism can be used justify suppressing information that would otherwise be public. Chase claims that the fences are up to protectwaterproofing repairsunderway in the plaza, though there has been no evidence of work on the site over the last seven months. But when Nagan filed a Freedom of Information Law request to see the repair plans filed with the city, he was told they were secret. The case will be heard on June 27.
Bidders Compete to Run Trade Center Observatory, 1,200 Feet Up
May 7 - Seven companies submitted bids on Monday to operate what will be highest and largest observatory in the city, at1 World Trade Center, according to real estate executives. The New York Times reported that observation decks like the two at the Empire State Building have become so lucrative that the bidding for the three-level attraction on floors 100 through 102 drew bidders from as far as Canada and France, as well as a local restaurant owner. Under the plans, five high-speed express elevators will transport visitors more than 1,200 feet above the street to a perch near the top of the tower, for $20 and $25 per person. The observatory will offer unobstructed views of the city, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester and Rockland Counties. Annual revenues could exceed $100 million. The seven companies, which were ordered not to discuss their offers, submitted bids to the Durst Organization, which owns 1 WTC with the Port Authority.
1 World Trade Center Symbolic 1,776-Foot Height Is at Stake in a Redesign
May 9 - Seventeen-seventy-six will never lose its place in the history books, but its claim to the record books may have been undermined by a decision not to build a sculptural cladding for the mast atop1 World Trade Center, reported the New York Times. The mast was to elevate an otherwise 1,368-foot skyscraper into a 1,776-foot structure whose defining measurement was meant to express American spirit and resolve in the face of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. Whether the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a private body that serves as a worldwide arbiter of building heights, counts the mast depends on whether it is considered a functional antenna or a nonfunctional spire. While reserving its final decision until 1 WTC is completed in early 2014, the council had previously been inclined to include the mast because it was clad in a fiberglass and steel enclosure called a radome. Without this cladding, the mast is a more straightforward pole of galvanized steel trusswork, about six feet in diameter for much of its height, intersected by wider maintenance platforms. Though the distinction between the versions seems minuscule on renderings only a few inches high, the mast is more than 400 feet tall -- about as tall as a 40-story building -- so even the smallest changes are magnified by scale. The decision to eliminate the cladding was made in October and affirmed in January by the Durst Organization and the Port Authority. Should the Council on Tall Buildings ultimately disallow the unclad mast in its height calculation, 1 WTC would lose both its symbolic dimension and its claim to unseating the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago as the tallest building in America. It would not even be the second-tallest building in America. That is the Trump International Hotel and Tower, also in Chicago.
BPCA Chairman Bill Thompson Resigns
May 11 - Bill Thompson, the Battery Park City Authority chairman since 2010, resigned on Wednesday, in order to devote his time to the 2013 mayoral race, reported the Broadsheet. Although the tenure of Mr. Thompson as chairman began at a troubled time for the Authority, coming in the wake of a State Inspector Generals investigation that criticized his predecessors for lavish spending and perks, he insisted he had no regrets about accepting the job.