April 20th - April 26th, 2013
LMDC Chief Wants 92YTribeca to Return Grant Money
April 18 - Many are saddened that 92YTribeca, with its vast offerings of films, talks, classes, art and music, is due to shut its doors in June, after less than five years on Hudson Street, reported the Tribeca Trib. But the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which helped make the community center possible with a federal 9/11 grant, sees the end of the Y as more than a cultural loss. They want some money back. "We were shocked," LMDC president David Emil said of the decision by the 92nd Street Y's board last month to close its popular center. "I said, 'Hey, we gave you government money, and you're closing, and so, we want it back.'" In 2007, the agency provided a $1.5 million grant to the 92nd Street Y. According to the LMDC's agreement with the Y, some portion of the money must be returned if 92YTribeca leaves before the end of five years. The Y has announced that it is likely to close the center in June, four months from its five-year anniversary.
South Cove to Get Facelift After Sandy Damage
April 22 - The Battery Park City Authority has begun a major repair project in South Cove, the inlet near the foot of South End Avenue, according to The Broadsheet. The project, which is budgeted at approximately $500,000, will rehabilitate the deck and walkway along the north side of the miniature harbor (called the Lower Quay), as well as the jetty on the opposite side. The work, which will fix damage done last fall by Hurricane Sandy, is expected to take about three months, during which time public access may be restricted. This project comes on the heels of a 2011 repair (in the wake of Hurricane Irene) that raised the Lower Quay by 12 inches, to compensate for the rising sea levels associated with climate change. That project was also budgeted at $500,000. Both of these undertakings are separate from a third, ongoing project that is repairing the blue lights on the east side of the cove, and relocating their electrical infrastructure above rising water lines.
WTC Security Plan Gets Hearing April 23
April 22 - The long-awaited World Trade Center security plan will be debated at a public hearing Tues., April 23 at 4 p.m. at the City Planning Dept., 22 Reade St., reported the Downtown Express. The 602-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which severely restricts vehicular access in and around the WTC, was only released to the public April 8, and the public has until May 8 to make written comments in order to influence the final environmental statement. Michael Levine, CB1 planning director, said last week that the board had been inviting the NYPD to discuss the WTC Campus Security Plan for many months without a response, and CB1 first learned of the hearing this month after a police official responded to a question he posted online. Ro Sheffe, a CB1 member, said the plan effectively closes off streets like Greenwich, which was reopened in the new WTC in order to connect the area to the city. The NYPD has maintained that tight restrictions are necessary in order to protect an area which terrorists have attacked twice in the last 20 years. CB1 has identified several areas of concern in the environmental statement and is continuing to revise its comments for the Tuesday hearing.
Cancer Rates Elevated for Some 9-11 Responders
April 23 - The members of Congress who were most instrumental in passing the James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 said a finding of elevated cancer rates among first responders to the 2001 terrorist attack further justified the need for the law, reported Crain's New York. But interpreting the data, which the elected officials believe merit coverage of cancer treatment by the government, is not so simple. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found the incidence of all cancers in 9/11 responders as of 2008 to be 15 percent higher than what would be expected from the general population. But that doesn't mean those who worked at the site where the World Trade Center towers collapsed have a 15 percent greater risk than normal of developing cancer. It could be higher or lower than that; in theory, the difference could even be negligible. Among the 20,984 participants in the World Trade Center Health Program, 575 cancers were diagnosed in 552 individuals.
Bloomberg, Kelly Applaud Counter-Terror Surveillance Of Lower Manhattan
April 23 - Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly checked out the city's counter-terrorism efforts in Manhattan on Tuesday, to tell the officers behind the scenes who keep a close watch on possible suspicious activity that they are doing a job well done, according to NY1. As part of the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, some 4,000 cameras can be monitored here by officers and private sector employees from the Financial District. There are also so-called smart cameras that can be programmed to spot suspicious items left on the street. The NYPD has some facial recognition technology with hundreds of thousands of photos in its database. The mayor and police commissioner said they want even more cameras on the street. After the Boston Marathon bombing, the NYPD counter-terrorism unit has been on heightened alert and the police commissioner said the investigation is ongoing to see if the Boston suspects visited New York for any reason. With all of the technology and cameras, the mayor and commissioner said there were no guarantees in stopping attacks in the city or anywhere else in the country. The police commissioner said he is not concerned about would-be terrorists knowing about all of the cameras, saying it is a good reason for them not to try to attack the city.
Developer May Be Planning â€˜Mega-Mosqueâ€™
April 24 - The "Ground Zero" mosque may be about to expand, according to the NY Daily News. The developer behind the controversial house of worship near the World Trade Center site -- dubbed Park51 -- has bought an adjacent property at 43 Park Pl. for $8 million, with $1 million down. Now, Sharif El-Gamal controls three adjacent properties on Park Place, leaving neighbors wondering whether the mysterious owner has a mega mosque planned for the block. El-Gamal, who also owns 45-47 Park Pl., has faced many obstacles while pursuing his grand plans for Park51 that he unveiled in 2009. He leases the original mosque site itself, at 51 Park Pl., from Con Edison, which is trying to evict him for non-payment of rent. He proposed building a 13-story community center that would include a mosque and an organization dedicated to promoting dialogue among various faiths. Four years later, construction has yet to begin on the building. Regular prayer services are already held at the site.
DOE Plans to Move P.S. 150 Uptown
April 25 - In a surprise move that has infuriated many cowntown parents, the Department of Education announced Wednesday that it plans to move P.S. 150 (also known as the Tribeca Learning Center), a small school on Greenwich Street that is prized for its intimate approach to education, to Chelsea next year, The Broadsheet reported. "Due to overcrowding issues in our Downtown schools, questionable economic viability of a small school, concerns about professional development and lack of opportunity for collaboration for our teachers and expanded opportunities for our students, there has been a proposal to move P.S. 150 to a new state of the art school building that is being constructed in the N.Y. Foundling Hospital on 17th Street and 6th Avenue, for the 2014 - 2015 school year," Jenny Bonnet, P.S. 150 principal since 2012, wrote in a letter to parents. The DOE plan is to complete the current school year, which ends in June, as well as the 2013-2014 school year, at P.S. 150's current home in Tribeca, then reopen the school in its new building in September, 2014. The opportunity to challenge the DOE's decision to move P.S. 150 may arise from the legal requirement for a public hearing about the move, as well as approval from the DOE Panel for Educational Policy. Both of those meetings are now scheduled for June.