January 26th - February 2nd, 2007
Lower Manhattan Town Hall February 7th
On Wednesday, February 7th, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is hosting the "Ask the Borough President: Lower Manhattan Town Hall Meeting." The meeting invites downtown residents, workers, and business owners to share and discuss important community issues with Stringer, members of Community Board 1, and other local elected officials. It will be held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at the south end of Battery Park City (36 Battery Place) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m.
2 River Terrace Tops Out
The latest addition to the Battery Park City skyline has arrived. Located at 2 River Terrace (site 16/17, at North End Avenue and Murray Street), the 31-story condominium tower reached its peak the week of January 22nd. Named "Riverhouse," the 264-unit residential building features "green" designs and will be home to a new New York Public Library branch, retail, and other neighborhood amenities. Façade and finishing work continue, with the building's completion planned for December 2007.
Fundraising Progress for WTC Memorial Foundation
Friday, January 26th: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, told the foundation's board that $253.8 million has been raised towards its goal of $300 million, the Associated Press reported. According to the AP, almost $52 million, or one-fifth of the total amount, has been raised in the last six weeks. The New York Post reported that the board would like to raise as much as $350 million and would use the surplus funds to create an endowment for the memorial.
New York City to See Tremendous Growth
Friday, January 26th: According to a new report on the local building industry by the New York Building Congress, all five of New York City's boroughs are entering one of the greatest construction booms in the city's history, the New York Sun reported. The current boom, which is expected to continue for a decade, is second only to the building boom of the 1920s, the Sun continued.
"We're soon going to see new stadiums, subway lines, convention center space, and residential developments that would have been difficult to conceive of even a few years ago," William Thompson, New York City comptroller, told the Sun. He added that experts see the local building industry as a bellwether for the city's economic prospects, the paper reported.
According to the Sun, the city's combined real estate, architecture, and construction sectors generate $60.8 billion, or a quarter of the city's output, and collectively they employ more than 250,000 people. In total, New York City building payrolls amount to $14 billion, the Sun reported. The paper added that the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site alone will create 8,000 construction jobs through 2012.
Legislators Propose Memorial for 9/11 Responders
Sunday, January 28th: New York State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris and New York State Senator Martin Golden have proposed including a memorial to victims of fatal illnesses incurred during the recovery and cleanup of Ground Zero in the World Trade Center Memorial Museum, the Associated Press reported. The lawmakers intend to introduce legislation in Albany to encourage the recognition of those who worked at the site and subsequently died from related illnesses, the AP continued.
"We want to tell the story of the 9/11 workers who rushed here to help put the city back on its feet, who got sick because they did that," Gianaris told the AP. "Now unfortunately many of them have died, and more importantly, that number is likely to increase as the years go on," he continued. According to the AP, the legislators stressed that their proposal will not affect the current memorial plans at Ground Zero.
Additional Health Funds for 9/11 Workers
Sunday, January 28th: The White House has agreed to spend $25 million for the care and treatment of Ground Zero recovery workers who became ill after their exposure to toxic dust in the months following 9/11, the New York Times reported. The $25 million is earmarked for two treatment programs that are running out of money, the Times continued, but the cost of medical care for recovery workers is estimated to be more than $250 million.
"I think it's a big breakthrough," Representative Vito Fossella told the Times. Fossella is part of a group of legislators that include Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton and Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerold Nadler, who are requesting funds for sick 9/11 recovery workers, the Times reported. Last year, the same group obtained $75 million from Congress, but that money is almost gone, the paper added.
In other health news, 9/11 health czar John Howard awarded a $165,000 federal grant to launch a study of deaths among World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers, according to the New York Post. The study aims to determine what killed the workers who searched for survivors and helped in the cleanup effort at Ground Zero, the Post continued. "We want to know about every death so we can evaluate any patterns with fatalities," Kitty Gelber, chief epidemiologist with the New York State Bureau of Occupational Health, told the Post. "People need to let us know who was there and who died," she added.
Costs Rise for Fulton Transit Hub
Tuesday, January 30th: The cost to build the Fulton Street Transit Center has escalated to $888 million, exceeding the $847 million cap set by the federal government, the project's main sponsor, Newsday reported. Mysore Nagaraja, president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), told board members that the MTA will cover the $41 million difference without making any substantial cuts to the project, Newsday continued.
The fate of the iconic glass dome and underground connections to the R/W and E trains were in question, but Nagaraja assured the board that neither feature would be lost, Newsday reported. Nagaraja is currently in negotiations with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to decrease the proposed cost of the E connector from $15 million to an estimated three to five million, Newsday continued. The transit hub is slated for completion in October 2009, Newsday added. For more on the Fulton Street Transit Center, please click here.
WTC Steel Beams Discovered at Ground Zero
Thursday, February 1st: Workers searching the service road at Ground Zero for human remains unearthed steel from the World Trade Center, the Associated Press reported. The discovery includes two columns stacked horizontally two to three feet below the surface and additional steel, the nature of which has yet to be confirmed by city officials, the AP continued. Some city and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials believe the 18-foot-long columns were intentionally placed along the road during the cleanup for stability purposes, the AP added.
According to the AP, digging has been halted in the area immediately surrounding the steel columns until the Port Authority removes and relocates the steel to a hanger at Kennedy International Airport. A variety of artifacts from the trade center are stored in the hanger, including what was believed to be the last steel column removed from the site in May 2002, the AP added.