May 12th - May 18th, 2012
City Unveils Locations of Bike-Share Stations
May 11 - The bike-share stations will be pliable, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said -- their assembly so simple that, if problems arise, docks can be removed without leaving a trace, reported the New York Times. And yet, with the programs first 420 proposed locations unveiled on Friday, proponents say New York has taken a step toward a watershed moment in the transportation history of the city: Every few blocks throughout Midtown and Lower Manhattan, in splotches of northern Brooklyn and along a small slice of Queens, New Yorkers will have access toa new alternative for public travel. Bicyclists who pay an annual membership fee of $95 will be able to shuttle between stations for up to 45 minutes without an additional charge. The Department of Transportation said it could not estimate how many parking spaces would be lost, because some station locations may change. The agency noted that many of the tentative street locations were previously designated as No Standing or No Parking areas anyway. The first bikes are scheduled to reach the streets in late July. By summer 2013, the city expects to have a fleet of 10,000 bikes, making it the largest such program in the country and one of the largest in the world, the city said. The Transportation Department said it had received about 70,000 location suggestions and comments on its Web site, incorporating the feedback, as well as input from meetings with community boards and officials, in the decisions.
WTC Health Program Office Opens This Week at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Flatbush
May 14 - More than a decade after the twin towers fell, the toxic dust raised in the collapse continues to sicken New Yorkers -- some of whom may not even know the cause of their ailments, according to the NY Daily News. Funded as part of the Zadroga Act, the World Trade Center Health Program was created to monitor and provide health care to first responders and civilians sickened by exposure to WTC-related toxins -- program officials estimate that could include as many as 30,000 people. Some 6,000 people are monitored at the Stony Brook arm of the program. But even though it is the most populous borough and the one closest to the World Trade Center site, other than a clinic for firemen in the MetroTech Center, Brooklyn has not had a WTCHP office -- until today, when the program opens new offices at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Flatbush. Brooklyn is one the last boroughs to get a WTCHP office, mostly due to lack of funding until President Obama signed the Zadroga Act into law in 2011. The clinic, at 760 Parkside Ave., will offer a full range of diagnostic tests and treatment, necessary because first responders to the WTC collapse have come down with a dizzying array of illnesses; respiratory, sinus, gastrointestinal and psychological being the most prominent, but by far from the only ones. A panel of researchers is still trying to determine if people who developed cancer-related illnesses should be included in the program. First responders or civilians already enrolled in WTCHP can be treated at the new facility.
9/11 Responders Invited to Mark 10th Anniversary of Ground Zero Cleanup
May 15 - First responders who risked their lives on 9/11 willreturn to the World Trade Center siteMay 30 to mark the 10th anniversary of the end of recovery operations at the site, the city announced Tuesday. According to DNAinfo.com, thousands of firefighters, police officers, construction workers and volunteers participated in the eight-and-a-half-month recovery effort, which ended May 30, 2002, with the removal of the Last Column, a steel beam covered in tributes to the dead. Now, the city is inviting those workers back to the site for a ceremony on the 9/11 Memorial plaza at 6:30 p.m. May 30, city officials said. Those who want to attend the ceremony mustregister in advance online, because the 9/11 Memorial has limited capacity. Those who register will also be included in the 9/11 Museums Recovery and Relief Workers Registry and in the Scroll of Honor, an installation that will be displayed near the Last Column in the museum, officials said. The city did not release details of the event but said there would be no speeches.
Anthrax Scare Prompts Evacuations at P.S. 234 and NEST+M on Thursday
May 15 - Two Downtown public schools fell under the shadow of terrorist threat last Thursday afternoon, when suspicious envelopes resulted in evacuation of both Tribecas P.S. 234 (292 Greenwich Street) and the Lower East Sides NEST+M (111 Columbia Street, near Houston Street and the FDR Drive). The Broadsheet reported that an unknown white powdery substance inside each envelope resembled anthrax threats perpetrated through the U.S. mail in recent years and received at business and political institutions. Both the Department of Education and New York City Police Department confirmed that the white powder was tested and found to be non-toxic. The matter is currently under police investigation.
Food Fight Brewing Over Future of New Amsterdam Market
May 16 - A food fight is brewing in the South Street Seaport, reports DNAinfo.com. The New Amsterdam Market, which has grown rapidly in popularity since launching its seasonal greenmarket in a parking lot beside the former Fulton Fish Market in 2007, is pitted against the group that has first rights to develop the warehouse space under the FDR Drive that the market wants to make its permanent home. The market, which features dozens of vendors offering artisanal cheese, locally-made jam, bread with New York-grown grain and other delicacies, draws crowds to its weekly Sunday festivals that typically lasts from April through December. But a grassroots effort by market organizers to move into the abandoned Tin Building and New Market Building has hit a wall with real estate giantHoward Hughes Corp. The company has first rights to develop the city-owned properties after signing a non-binding letter of intent with the city Economic Development Corporation, according to both sides.
Locals Rail Against Financially Tardy Holiday Inn Developer
May 16 - The future of the worlds tallest Holiday Inn sprouting in Lower Manhattan remains up in the air, but the past is hard to escape for developer McSam Downtown LLC. The Downtown Express has found that McSam currently owes the city at least $180,000 in outstanding property taxes and fines on the project site located at 99 Washington St., the future site of the hotel. While no accidents have been recorded at the site, some local residents are demanding renewed scrutiny of the developer, who is seeking to increase the planned height of the building from 43 stories to over 50 stories if the city grants the developer new permits. It has taken about seven years for the Holiday Inn project to reach its current stage, but the project will likely not meet its spring 2013 deadline for completion, the attorney noted. As the developer seeks to finalize designs, tackle tax problems with the city and resolve the outstanding fines, McSam will also have to deal with local residents, who charge the company with neglecting the impact of the construction on the neighborhood.
NYC Spent $30 Million Policing Occupy Wall Street, Officials Say
May 17 - The city has spent a staggering $30 million on police overtime at the Occupy Wall Street protests, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Thursday. DNAinfo.com reported that the total overtime cost has ballooned over the past two months from $17 million in March to nearly double that on Thursday, Kelly said at a City Council budget hearing. The spike in spending follows the massive May Day protests of Tuesday, May 1. The Occupy Wall Street protests -- along with Hurricane Irene, which cost the NYPD $7 million in overtime pay -- have busted the NYPDs overtime budget, pushing it up to $604 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, Kelly said. That is $53 million more in police overtime than the city paid the previous year, he said. While the NYPD is devoting a large amount of manpower to policing the protesters, Kelly said the effort is not hurting the NYPDs ability to fight crime across the city, since the overtime workers are taking on extra shifts on their days off.
Westfield Inks WTC Retail Deal
May 18 - After 11 years of grueling talks, a $93.9 million payment yesterday finally clinched a deal between the Port Authority and Westfield Group for control of the World Trade Center retail space. Global shopping mall developer Westfield wired the Port Authority a check, sources told the NY Post -- the first installment of $612.5 million Westfield will pay the PA for a 50 percent, joint-venture stake in the sites eventual 460,000 square feet of retail. Westfield will lend its skills in developing, leasing and operating an initial 365,000 square feet inside under-construction 4 WTC, the WTC Transportation Hub, above-ground along Church and Dey Streets and inside 3 WTC in the planning stage. It will also include 90,000 square feet more when 2 WTC is developed in the future.
9-11 Families Upset Over Ground Zero Museum Delays
May 18 - They were promised a place to mourn their loved ones, display their photographs and educate their children and the children of strangers about exactly what was lost on 9-11. But today, family members of those killed have no completion date for the museum that is to be built alongside the Sept. 11 memorial at Ground Zero -- and many are upset, reported the Associated Press. Construction of the museum -- originally scheduled to open on the 11th anniversary of the attacks -- has largely ground to a halt amid a financial dispute between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, and the foundation that controls the memorial and museum. Work has been slowed since late last year, when the subcontractors at the site stopped getting paid. The Port Authority claimed the Sept. 11 memorial foundation owed it $300 million for infrastructure and revised project costs, while the foundation argued the Port instead owed it money because of project delays. On Thursday, a spokesman for the Port would say only that discussions were continuing. A spokesman for the foundation declined to comment about the families concerns. Officials have said publicly there is no way to complete the museum by this years anniversary of the attacks, but no formal communication has gone out to the families to inform them of the delays and keep them apprised, some family members said. The subcontractors at the site were recently paid $15 million that had been owed to them, but they wont return to the job until there is an agreement on future payment and a new schedule is adopted.