July 16th - July 22nd, 2004
NY Water Taxi Seeks to Expand Service
Sunday, July 18th: With the help of two Brooklyn City Council members, New York Water Taxi is seeking to begin service between Brooklyn's 69th Street pier and downtown Manhattan, the New York Times reported.
With $500,000 in city funding lined up to install a floating dock at the Brooklyn pier, NY Water Taxi President Tom Fox is hopeful that the ferry service will begin running to Lower Manhattan by next spring, the paper said.
Council members Vincent Gentile and David Yassky, both of whom were instrumental in obtaining funding for the dock, believe the new service would help improve transportation between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Ferry service from the 69th Street pier to Wall Street's Pier 11 would take just 18 minutes, compared to subway travel, which can take up to 45 minutes, according to the Times.
City Upgrades 311 System
Monday, July 19th: The Bloomberg administration announced its plans to expand the city's 311 information hotline to include information about concerts, museum exhibits, restaurants, and street closings, among other items, the New York Times reported.
The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, which operates the 311 system, is working with NYC & Company, a nonprofit organization created to market and promote the city, to implement the expanded public service in time for the start of the Republican National Convention on August 30.
NYC & Company will set up a temporary help desk at the Lower Manhattan 311 call center, staffed by convention volunteers, to provide expanded service during the convention. The additional cultural information will be housed in a new database, which 311 operators and NYC & Company employees will continue to use after the convention concludes, according to the Times.
The 311 system, initiated by the Bloomberg administration last March, operates 24 hours a day and receives an average 33,000 callers daily. To read more about it, please click here.
Explore Chinatown Campaign Makes Strides
Tuesday, July 20th: Members of the Explore Chinatown campaign -- a two-year tourism marketing campaign that seeks to increase awareness of attractions, landmarks, and things to do in the downtown neighborhood -- hosted a briefing to relay news about some of the progress that the campaign has achieved since kicking off in January 2004.
Among other initiatives, the Explore Chinatown campaign has started an official website, www.explorechinatown.com. Additionally, the campaign has produced 100,000 Explore Chinatown brochures featuring a map with points of interest and directions to and around the area. More than 150 hotels and information centers around the city are signed up to receive the brochures.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which, together with the September 11th Fund, is financing the Explore Chinatown campaign, has also printed palm cards that include a map of Chinatown. These will be available to businesses in the community free of charge.
Looking ahead, Explore Chinatown will launch a subway advertising campaign, which will showcase ads in 40 percent of all New York City MTA subway cars during the months of November and December.
NYU Downtown Hospital Celebrates Opening of Chemotherapy/Infusion Suite
Tuesday, July 20th: The NYU Downtown Hospital announced the opening of a new Chemotherapy/Infusion Suite on the facility's second floor.
Designed for adult patients who require chemotherapy and phlebotomy, IV antibiotics, hydration, or iron infusions, the new facility offers a more private, intimate treatment environment, along with the latest technology and equipment.
For more information about the new Chemotherapy/Infusion Suite or to learn more about NYU Downtown Hospital, please visit the hospital's website.
Agency Releases Revised Report on Twin Tower Collapse
Wednesday, July 21: A team of federal investigators with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a revised report on the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
Although a full investigation of the collapse is still in progress, the NIST estimates that 17,400 tenants and visitors were in the towers at the time of the attack, the New York Times reported. According to the initial report, approximately 1,466 of those who died were in the WTC's north tower, while 624 were in the south tower. Locations for the 73 remaining victims have not yet been determined, the Times noted.
The NIST's preliminary findings also show that 1,356 of those who died in the collapse of the towers were located at or above the site of impact -- where the planes struck each building -- the Times said. The estimates exclude rescue personnel, airplane passengers and crew members, and those on the ground or in adjacent buildings.
The investigation, initiated two years ago and scheduled for completion this December, seeks to better understand how the WTC towers collapsed during the 9/11 attacks and pose new recommendations to increase safety and security in building and evacuation codes throughout the country, the paper added.
Court Calls for Mediation in Silverstein-Libeskind Spat
Wednesday, July 21: A New York State Supreme Court justice ordered WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein and WTC master architect Daniel Libeskind to resolve their ongoing dispute over the architect's design fees for his work on the Freedom Tower before the spat goes to trial, the Associated Press reported.
Justice Karla Moskowitz called for mediation between the parties just one week after Libeskind filed a lawsuit against Silverstein Properties, charging that he is owed $843,750 in design fees for his work on the $1.8 billion Freedom Tower, the AP said. Silverstein has countered the architect's original estimate, arguing that Libeskind has failed to produce time sheets for the project that would justify the payment.
With the aid of a court-appointed third party mediator, the two sides will work to resolve the dispute in coming weeks. If necessary, the case could go to trial as early as October 14, Newsday added.
While the dispute between the parties continues in court, rebuilding officials have stressed that the disagreement will not impact the rebuilding process. "This is a private dispute between the parties and will in no way hinder the progress of the rebuilding efforts," LMDC President Kevin Rampe told the Times last week.
City Officials Improve Staten Island Ferry Security
Wednesday, July 21: The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) recently installed state-of-the-art surveillance cameras on the Staten Island Ferry's seven-vessel fleet, as well as at its two terminals, the New York Post reported.
In compliance with federal anti-terrorism regulations, the NYCDOT equipped each ferry, along with the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan and Staten Island's St. George Ferry Terminal, with closed-circuit television cameras before the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard's July 1 deadline, the Post said.
The cameras, which are under constant observation, are just one of the many security improvements that the city has made on the ferry fleet over the past three years. Other improvements include NYPD patrols and security sweeps. Under the leadership of Captain James C. DeSimone, the Staten Island Ferry Service's new chief operations officer, the city is working to continue improving safety on the ferries, the Times added.
Lady Liberty Readies for Reopening
Thursday, July 22: The Statue of Liberty will welcome the public once again beginning on August 3, and the National Parks Service has launched a telephone reservation service for visitors wishing to attend the national icon's reopening, Newsday reported. The reservation system, designed to facilitate visits and ease long lines, will also be available online in September.
When Lady Liberty partially reopens in August, visitors will be able to view the inside of the statue through a glass ceiling in the structure's pedestal, as well walk onto its 16th-story observation deck. The interior of the statue remains closed indefinitely for security reasons, but tours include a trip inside the statue's original torch, replaced after her centennial in 1986, as well as a visit to neighboring Ellis Island.
Due to safety concerns, the Statue of Liberty was closed after September 11, 2001, and has undergone a series of renovations and security improvements over the past year. The museum and outdoor tours of Liberty Island have continued during the statue's closure.
To make a reservation for guided tours of the Statue of Liberty's observatory and promenade, please call (866) STATUE4 or (866) 782-8834. For more coverage of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on LowerManhattan.info, please click here.