October 13th - October 19th, 2006
Manhattan Bridge Lower Roadway Closed for Repair
Tuesday, October 17th: As of Sunday, October 15, 2006, the Manhattan Bridge's lower roadway is closed for a year-long rehabilitation. The bikeway on the bridge's north side also is closed while contractor Koch Skanska USA rehabilitates the lower roadway, making the south path a shared walkway/bikeway. For more on this story, please click here.
Ground Zero Workers May Claim Damages
Tuesday, October 17th: U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that emergency workers who became ill after aiding in the cleanup efforts at ground zero may bring suit against the City of New York, roughly 150 of its private contractors, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Associated Press reported. The judge wrote, "If even a minority of the plaintiffs suffered serious injuries to their respiratory tracts arising from the acrid air of September 11, their claims deserve to be heard when a recovery could make a difference in their lives," the AP added.
Michael Cardozo, corporation counsel for the City of New York, argued that close study of the facts surrounding the thousands of claims lead to the conclusion that the city and its contractors are not legally liable, the AP continued. Claims against the Consolidated Edison Co. and companies controlled by developer Larry Silverstein were dismissed by Hellerstein with the explanation that they had no legal control over the area and are subsequently not liable for damages, the AP reported. In order to eliminate unjustified claims, Hellerstein plans to appoint a special master, the AP added.
Hall of Fame for Womens Sports Named for King
Wednesday, October 18th: The first hall of fame for women's sports, which will be housed at the National Sports Museum in the old Standard Oil building in Lower Manhattan, was named for tennis great Billie Jean King, the New York Times reported. The hall will be known as the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center and is part of a joint venture between King's Women's Sports Foundation, which she founded in 1974, and the museum, the Times continued.
Inside, the hall will offer visitors an opportunity to see artifacts like the tennis racket King used when she won her 20th Wimbledon title, the helmet Janet Guthrie wore when she competed in the Indianapolis 500, Sasha Cohen's ice skates, and various interactive displays detailing the history of female athletes, the Times added. According to the Times, King told reporters, "I've had no time to reflect on this," when asked about the hall being named for her. "I feel a large sense of responsibility," she continued. "I'm only 62, but I need to work harder. I want this to be about more than a name, but about what girls and women can do."
Waiver Granted to Store Fuel in Building on Hudson Street
Wednesday, October 18th: The New York City Board of Standards and Appeals voted three to zero to uphold a Buildings Department waiver granting the owners of 60 Hudson Street permission to store 80,000 gallons of diesel fuel in two or three 275-gallon tanks on each of six floors, the New York Times reported, with the remaining tanks stored in the basement. Currently, the building code for 60 Hudson Street allows for the storage of one 275-gallon tank per floor, the paper added.
According to the Times, city officials do not feel that 60 Hudson Street poses a major risk to the community and that the variance does not change the amount of fuel stored in the building; it only impacts where the fuel can be stored. However, the variance does require the building owners to install additional safety equipment such as fire-resistant walls, the Times reported. The fuel being stored at the building is for use in generators in case of a blackout, the Times added.
Federal Court Tells Insurers to Pay Silverstein $4.6 Billion
Thursday, October 19th: A federal appeals court upheld two jury verdicts requiring the insurers of the World Trade Center to award Larry Silverstein a maximum payout of $4.6 billion, the Associated Press reported. According to the AP, Silverstein had insured the towers for $3.5 billion but was seeking to recover twice that amount because he thought the 9/11 attacks should be considered two separate events.
In one trial ending in April 2004, a federal jury ruled that the majority of the insurers were bound by policies that ruled the towers' collapse as a single event. In a second trial, which ended in December 2004, another jury ruled that nine of the insurers were bound by policies that ruled the incident as two events, qualifying Silverstein for an additional $1.1 billion.
The appeals court, in a written ruling, decided unanimously that it was proper to let the juries decide whether the language of the various policies defined the towers' collapse as one or two events because "the word 'event' is susceptible to more than one interpretation," according to the AP.
Jacques Dubois, chief executive of Swiss Re America Holding Corp., the largest insurer of the several who covered the Twin Towers, said in a statement that the company "will continue to honor its contractual obligations under the terms of coverage it agreed to provide before 9/11." Swiss Re is among the insurers required to award Silverstein a single payout.