September 2nd - September 2nd, 2004
Port Authority Adds WTC Items to Preservation List
Friday, August 27: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that it will preserve additional items from the original WTC center during the reconstruction of the site, the New York Times reported.
Among the items to be preserved are a 66-foot long, travertine remnant of the World Trade Center concourse and a fluorescent orange memorial marking from the WTC's underground garage stairwell, the Times said. The Port Authority will also uncover the remaining steel stubs of the Twin Tower's perimeter columns and mark the edge of the north tower outline on a platform that will be used for the permanent WTC PATH station, the paper added.
The announcement coincided with the filing of a suit by the Coalition of 9/11 Families against the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The suit calls for the agency to stop construction at the World Trade Center site, claiming that commitments regarding adherence to historic preservation requirements have not been met, according to the Times.
In a statement, the LMDC expressed disappointment with the decision by the coalition to sue, saying they had '''worked closely with the coalition and other stakeholders' to preserve the historical significance and dignity of the site," the Times reported.
Small Firm Attraction and Retention Program Deadline Nears
Monday, August 30: State officials are encouraging more downtown businesses to apply for grant money through the Small Firm Attraction and Retention Program (SFARG) before it expires on December 31, 2004.
Launched by the Empire State Development Corporation in March 2002, the grant program was designed to assist the economic recovery of the downtown economy after the 9/11 attacks by providing aid to businesses with up to 200 employees that renew or sign new leases south of Canal Street.
As of last week, $103 million of the program's available $155 million in assistance grants had been pledged or administered to more than 1,600 downtown businesses that together employ 25,000 people.
With 200 applications still pending, New York State officials are confident that the remaining funds will be distributed before the program expires. As with other 9/11 assistance and incentive programs, a surge in applications is expected as the SFARG's December 31 deadline approaches.
In order to qualify for aid from SFARG, a business renewing a lease south of Canal Street must have been in its location on September 11, 2001. New businesses or businesses who relocate downtown can also seek assistance from the program, provided they sign a minimum five-year lease by the December 31 deadline. For more information about SFARG and how to apply, contact the Empire State Development Corporation at (800) 782-8369.
Downtown Welcomes GOP Convention Politicians and Protesters
Wednesday, September 1: Lower Manhattan welcomed thousands of politicians and protestors during the Republican National Convention, which officially kicked off on Sunday, August 29.
From convention galas and organized demonstrations, event participants took advantage of an array of downtown activities, which included dining at downtown eateries during Restaurant Week, visiting the area's historical hot spots, taking part in the ongoing River to River Festival and tax-free shopping week, and paying a visit to the Lower East Side Dance Festival and the Chinatown Cultural Day Festival.
Although the area around Ground Zero was officially ruled off limits to formal political protest and organized patriotic parades, visitors also took time to visit the WTC site and pay personal tributes, as well as witness its progress.
The convention officially ended on Thursday, September 2, but many visitors are expected to remain in New York City throughout the weekend. For complete coverage of the events taking place surrounding the convention, click here or visit LowerManhattan.info's "Things to Do" page.