December 29th - January 4th, 2013
Verizon Replaces Copper with Fiber in Lower Manhattan
December 31 - Verizon has completed the installation of fiber-optic cables between the company's two critical central switching offices in Lower Manhattan, according to Converge Network Digest.The rapid deployment replaces many copper lines that were damaged by hurricane flooding. Copper cables were destroyed that served businesses and residences in the area south of Worth Street, from river to river. The damage resulted from inundation of salt water mixed with diesel fuel. Verizon now estimates that more than 70 percent of the affected buildings served by its Broad Street switching office, where copper services were most significantly damaged, have fiber-optic cables and facilities serving them, with many buildings downtown having full service. In addition, Verizon estimates that this operation has already installed more than 5,000 miles of fiber strands in Lower Manhattan and removed more than 100 tons of copper cables -- 30 percent more than all the copper in the Statue of Liberty. The copper is being collected and recycled.
Three World Trade Center Almost Ready to Rise
January 2 - With 1 World Trade Center on the rise, plans for 3 WTC are reportedly getting off the ground. Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the New York Post that developer Larry Silverstein is close to inking to a deal with tenants that would allow for completion of the tower. Sources say the likely anchor tenant would be Group M, part of advertising giant WPP. Silverstein has already finished the below-ground portions of the building but plans for the rest of the tower were up in the air after prospective tenants, including Morgan Stanley and UBS, lost interest. Silverstein is hoping to have the 80-story tower complete by 2015.
Tensions Continue to Build Over Enrollment at BPC P.S. 276
January 2 - Kindergarten registration begins this month, again sparking waitlist worries and crowding concerns at downtown schools, reported the Tribeca Trib. Nowhere are those concerns more acute than at P.S. 276 in Battery Park City, where parents fear that their school will be saddled with more 5-year-olds than it can handle. Last month, P.S. 276 parents started a petition that calls on the Department of Education to limit the number of kindergarten classes in the school to three -- the number that the school was intended to house when it opened in 2010. The DOE opened five classes this school year and the last, and four the year before. With the need for a solution growing urgent, parents and other school leaders were hoping for a DOE response to their request. A DOE spokesman did not respond to questions about the city's kindergarten admission plans for P.S. 276, or when they will be decided. But in response to crowding questions in October, a DOE spokesman said that capacity is analyzed on a wider geographic basis, not school by school. For Lower Manhattan that includes Chinatown where, they have said, P.S. 1 is a likely alternate choice.
Sandy Flooding Renews Protest Over WTC Remains
January 2 - During Hurricane Sandy, the site of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum complex was overcome by more than 16 million gallons of floodwater, which ruined wires and drywall and ravaged a handful of iconic artifacts. The New York Observer reported that the sites extensive flooding is renewing protests over a plan to move the 8,584 still-unidentified remains from 9-11 victims into a repository adjacent to the base level of the museum, seven stories below ground. Family members of 9-11 victims fear that putting the remains so far under the earth--in flood zone A, no less--leaves them unnecessarily vulnerable to the elements, particularly with city medical examiner researchers still actively conducting DNA tests on those body parts. The agency has committed to identifying every piece of bone, tissue and DNA found at Ground Zero. Most of the museums thousands of artifacts were stowed before the storm in secure locations, but some of the larger pieces, including the Last Column, the WTC cross, two fire trucks and a cab, remained in the structure, shrink-wrapped to protect them from the surge. While the Port Authority installed dozens of sandbags and concrete barriers and additional water pumps, those efforts were no match for the gushing water. Michael Frazier, the museum spokesperson, said that despite the precautions, some artifacts were damaged. It took more than a week to pump out all of the water, and the museum is still assessing how much damage the flood caused. While the subterranean design was intentionally grave-like, that concept has long been contested by family members who wanted the remains to be stored above ground and entirely separate from the museum exhibition space. Flooding was always a concern for these families. Sally Regenhard, one of the museums most vocal opponents, and more than a dozen other family members are suing both the memorial and the city for the right to obtain a comprehensive contact list of victims relatives. Ms. Regenhard hopes to use the list to mobilize an effort to store remains in something akin to the Tomb of the Unknowns, a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without identification. Their next court date is scheduled for January 9.
Push Underway to Bring Tourism to Downtown Manhattan
January 3 - Tourism to Lower Manhattan came back slowly but surely after September 11th and is now facing another test of its economic and emotional resolve after Hurricane Sandy gave it the one-two punch, reported NY1. "There are still problems within the area, but buildings are open," says Linda Rapacki of the Museum of American Finance. "There are still restaurants to come to, still shops to go into, and we need it to keep downtown alive." The Museum of American Finance is one of 11 museums joining forces in a 2013 tourism initiative spearheaded by NYC and Co., the city tourism arm. Other businesses, including Fraunces Tavern, The Skyscraper Museum, and The New York City Police Museum join at least 14 Lower Manhattan hotels giving extra benefits to guests every weekend through February. Visitors booking any of the hotels get up to two free culture passes per room for three days worth of museum visits, along with a $20 Century 21 gift card to shop for discount designer duds at. From South Street Seaport, to the Financial District and the Battery, Downtown Manhattan is looking up for 2013.