August 25th - August 31st, 2012
First Responder Objects to Tourist Atmosphere at World Trade Center Memorial
August 25 - When Marianne Pizzitola visited the World Trade Center Memorial last week, she was already wary, reported ABC News. A retired EMS for the Fire Department of New York, Pizzitola, 43, had been a first responder on September 11th, almost 11 years ago. She, like so many others, lost friends that day and had finally mustered the strength to travel to New York from her current home in Georgia to pay her respects. What she found disturbed her. Recalling crowded lines, laughter, smiling people, onlookers leaning and sitting on the tablets inscribed with victims names, Pizzitola said she felt as if she were lined up not for a somber memorial but a tourist attraction. But for Pizzitola, a shrine in memory of those who died should bear no semblance to anything fun. In June, a group of Brooklyn teenagers were evicted from the memorial after throwing trash in the reflecting pools. While the 9/11 memorial had no official statement on the email, they did refer ABC News to a sign posted in the line at the museum that calls for proper decorum: "The 9/11 Memorial is a place for solemn reflection dedicated to honoring and remembering the tragic events and the overwhelming loss of innocent life."
Another Year Lost for 9/11 Museum
August 26 - Nearly a year after the memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks was opened in time for the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the museum is nowhere in sight, reported Crain's New York Business. Some insiders say the museum may not be ready even by next years anniversary. What is clear is that work on the project ceased nearly a year ago -- and attempts to restart it seem to be stuck. A disagreement between the board of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum foundation and the Port Authority, which owns the World Trade Center site, over who should pay millions in construction costs has only metastasized over the past year. Other issues -- such as who should have financial over sight -- are now deep in the mix. Almost as soon as the anniversary events ended last year, the Port Authority and the foundation started battling over construction costs. Initially, the Port Authority said the foundation owed it $156 million, while the foundation countered by insisting that the Port Authority actually owed it $140 million. Port Authority officials are still said to want assurances that the foundation has enough money to finish the museum and have a cushion for operating expenses. Sources said that negotiations are also being hindered by other, nonfinancial issues, including the foundation lease on the museum and memorial site, which expires next year.
$66M PATH Command Center to Cut Waiting Time Between Commuter Trains
August 28 - Port Authority officials say their new high-tech command center for the PATH system will shrink wait times between trains for weary commuters, according to the NY Daily News. The sleek $66 million facility, housed in a secret location for security reasons, goes fully operational in January. Officials gave reporters a tour Tuesday to celebrate 50 years since the PATH system was established. Command center workers will oversee a $400-million computerized signal system being phased in over the next few years that will speed up service. PATH (short for Port Authority Trans-Hudson) trains had 77 million riders last year, an all-time high, and are on-track to break that record this year. Average weekday ridership is over 250,000. PATH officials say they will be able to increase system capacity by 20 percent in five years. Platforms on the World Trade Center line are being elongated to accommodate 10-car trains, instead of the current eight, to help meet that goal.
Construction Worker Injured After Fall at 3 WTC
August 29 - A construction worker fell from a lower floor of 3 World Trade Center on Wednesday afternoon, officials said. DNAinfo.com reported that a man in his 30s tumbled about 20 feet and suffered serious injuries to his arm. Although initial reports from the FDNY indicated the accident happened at 1 World Trade Center, the Port Authority said the incident occurred at 3 World Trade Center. The man was rushed to Bellevue Hospital. John Gallagher, a spokesman forTishman Construction, the construction manager for the project, said the worker remained alert after the accident and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Work at the site continued after the fall, the spokesman said. The incident comesa little more than a month after another construction worker was injured at that same site after a beam rolled over on him. That worker also suffered non-threatening injuries.
Pickup Trucks Must Go After Fatal Stock Exchange Accident, Locals Say
August 29 - The pickup trucks that block traffic around theNew York Stock Exchangeare supposed to keep New Yorkers safe -- but after one jumped the curb on Broad Street last week and killed a 70-year-old man, many Downtown residents are demanding changes, reported DNAinfo.com. Sorel Deps-Medina, of Queens, was eating lunch on the sidewalk on Broad Street when one of the trucks lurched onto the sidewalk as it was allowing a vehicle into the Stock Exchange secure zone, police said. The accident -- which sent terrified workers and tourists screaming and diving out of the trucks path, near the Leman Manhattan Preparatory School -- shows that it is time to rethink security in the busy area around the exchange, shaken residents said this week. Even more disturbing, residents said, is the fact that the trucks, posted at several spots along Wall and Broad streets, were not supposed to be part of the permanent security solution. Three years ago, the city spent $30 million in federal and private funds on a high-tech plan that was supposed to remove all temporary security measures, such as trucks and metal gates, from Broad and Wall streets. The cobblestone turntables, studded with bronze bollards, were widely hailed as an improvement over older, uglier security measures, but there was just one problem -- they often did not work. When that happens, the stock exchange directs its security company, T&M Protection Resources, to use pickup trucks to block the street instead, a source said. The city Economic Development Corp., which oversaw the installation of the turntables, declined to comment, as well as the Department of Transportation, T&M Protection, and the New York Stock Exchange also all declined to comment.
Occupy Wall Street to Mark Anniversary with Protests
August 30 - Occupy Wall Street will mark its first anniversary by trying to block traffic in the Financial District and circling the Stock Exchange, according to Bloomberg. Planning for the Sept. 17 protest follows months of internal debate, according to interviews with organizers. The morning action may include attempts to make citizens arrests of bankers, and some activists intend to bring handcuffs, they said. Occupy protests sprouted up from San Francisco to Hong Kong after demonstrators established a camp in Manhattan Zuccotti Park last September. Police ousted that group in November, and governments around the world took similar action. There has been a cascade of banking scandals since May 1, the last time OWS organized major protests. Regulators have accused Barclays of trying to rig global interest rates; Standard Chartered faces a probe over claims it funneled Iranian money through the US; Senate investigators said HSBC helped drug lords launder funds; and JPMorgan Chase & Co. lost at least $5.8 billion on trades.