February 23rd - March 1st, 2013
NYC to Give 1.25 Million to Startups in Lower Manhattan
February 17 - The city will dole out $1.25 million to startups that plan to move to storm-stricken lower Manhattan, according to a new report. The Economic Development Corp. will announce the 20 finalists for the cash this week, which it expects will spur a migration of hip tech companies to the area long associated with finance, Crain's New York Business reported. The newcomers would also -- the city hopes -- invigorate Lower Manhattan, which is still struggling to recover post-Sandy. The top five winners will receive $250,000 toward opening an office downtown. The other 15 winners will receive $10,000 with no strings attached -- though they will be strongly encouraged to move downtown, an EDC spokesman told Crain's. At least two more rounds of the cash competition are planned. The effort is the latest initiative meant to encourage startups to put down roots in the city. Last year, Mayor Bloomberg spearheaded plans for a genius school that would serve as a training grounds for the next Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin. The school, Cornell NYC Tech, is already holding classes at the Google building in Chelsea. The permanent campus on Roosevelt Island will open by 2017.
New FEMA Issues New Flood Zone Maps
February 24 - Some home and business owners learned in October that just because their building is not located in Flood Zone A, it does not necessarily mean the area is without flooding risks -- Superstorm Sandy's 14-foot storm surge caused some reevaluation of areas throughout New York City that are at lower elevations. The result of those evaluations will soon be available online through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), reported the Downtown Express. Crystal Tramunti, Natural Hazards Program Specialist at FEMA, who usually works near the Community Board offices at 90 Broadway but was deployed to Queens after Sandy, was on hand at a recent Community Board 1 Executive Committee meeting to announce the release of coastal analysis and mapping tools for Lower Manhattan. The tools will go live online on February 24. A Region II Coastal Analysis and Mapping website will provide thelatest information on Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts and Hurricane Sandy Advisory Base Flood Elevations available. For more information, visitwww.region2coastal.com
South Street Seaport Area Still a Ghost Town Months After Hurricane
February 25 - Nearly four months after Superstorm Sandy flooded Wall Street and forced evacuations in Lower Manhattan, roughly 85 percent of small businesses near the South Street Seaport are still boarded up, reported the Associated Press. On Fulton Street, the wide tourist-friendly pedestrian walkway that comprises the main Seaport shopping district, not a single one of the major chain stores -- which include Coach, Ann Taylor and Brookstone -- has reopened. A state senator who represents the area estimates at least 1,000 jobs were lost in Lower Manhattan -- 450 of them in the Seaport neighborhood alone. Among local business owners, there is a pervasive sense that their plight has been ignored by the rest of the city.
New York City Marks 20 years since 1993 WTC Attack
February 26 - A ceremony honoring six people who died 20 years ago in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center was held February 26 at the 9-11 memorial, where the twin towers were destroyed eight years later, reported ABC News and other sources. More than 1,000 people were injured in the 1993 blast in an underground garage below one of the towers. "It was the first dramatic demonstration that terrorism is theater and New York is the biggest stage," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said last week. Six Islamic extremists were convicted of carrying out the bombing, including mastermind Ramzi Yousef. The ceremony was held at the memorial, and a moment of silence was observed at 12:18 p.m., the time when a truck bomb was detonated below the north tower.
WTC Site Classified as Flood Danger Zone in New FEMA Maps
February 27 - Federal officials have added thousands of buildings to their flood danger zones in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, including the World Trade Center site, reported the New York Daily News. Owners of properties added to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps may be forced to elevate their buildings several feet or face skyrocketing insurance premiums. FEMA also added parts of Lower Manhattan, the upper East Side, Red Hook and Greenpoint. A Port Authority spokesman said plans for the WTC site were designed to be above the flood plain. A spokesman for the 9-11 Memorial Museum said its design includes flood-proofing. But lawyer Norman Siegel, who represents families fighting a plan to bury unidentified human remains in the museum said the flood designation is another reason to worry about placing remains 70 feet underground.
Lower Manhattan Business Leaders Optimistic About Area Recovery
February 28 - Hurricane Sandy may have battered Lower Manhattan four months ago, but the Downtown Alliance business group is touting how far the neighborhood has come back, reported NY1. The numbers in a new report from the Alliance seem to reflect that. Damage from Hurricane Sandy closed 35 percent of the offices downtown immediately after the storm. Now, practically all of that is back. Only seven residential buildings remain closed, compared to 42 closed one week after the storm. As for hotels, only 165 rooms remain unavailable now, compared to 1,473 that were closed right after the storm. The business leaders said that the challenge is making people aware just how much the area below Chambers Street recovered. One area still struggling to recover, though, is retail. While 90 percent of businesses across Downtown are open, leaders said more needs to be done along areas like the Seaport and Water Street. Other challenges remain, including Verizon fully restoring phone service. There is still no timetable for that, but the company said it's getting close. The discussion also focused on lessons learned and what building owners and businesses owners can do to be prepared in the event of another catastrophic storm. "Design the building so that if we have a reoccurrence, the recovery will be much quicker," said Kevin McCann of Cushman Wakefield. "Instead of weeks, it will be in days." Despite any threats from mother nature, there is optimism for the future.