April 23rd - April 29th, 2004
Port Authority Construction Spending Hits $1 Billion
Friday, April 23: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's total construction spending reached over $1 billion in 2003, the Associated Press reported.
The majority of the organization's funds were devoted to building projects such as the restoration of the PATH service at the World Trade Center site and the launch of the JFK International Airport light-rail system.
The PA's budget also funded the implementation of E-ZPass Plus service at Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty International Airports, as well as work on a New Jersey ExpressRail facility and improvements to the PA Bus Terminal in New York City, the AP added.
Handel Architects Readies for WTC Memorial Involvement as Arad Is Named Partner
Sunday, April 25: WTC Memorial Designer Michael Arad was named partner to the U.S. firm Handel Architects, resulting in the transfer of Arad's memorial design contract with the LMDC to the 10-year-old firm.
Handel Architects -- formerly Gary Edward Handel & Associates -- is best known in the city for its redevelopment of Lincoln Center throughout the 1990s, as well as several residential buildings. With Arad on board, the firm has already begun working with Arad's collaborator, Peter Walker, and the project's associate architect, Davis Brody Bond, on the WTC Memorial design.
Handel Architects will move its office and staff of 50 from Broadway and 68th Street to downtown in July. The firm also has offices in San Francisco and Miami.
LMDC Weighs Proposals for Cultural Space at WTC site
Tuesday, April 27: The LMDC, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, is expected to make a final decision on the use of cultural space at the World Trade Center site in May, according to the New York Times.
Of the many cultural institutions and organizations that have submitted proposals for the space, leading candidates include the Joyce Theater, which has suggested that a 900-seat dance theater be built there, and New York City Opera, which submitted a plan for a 2,200-set opera house at the site, the Times noted.
Other performing arts groups that have expressed an interest in occupying the space include the Signature Theater Company, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Tribeca Film Institute.
National Sports Museum Planned for Downtown
Thursday, April 28: Developers are planning a new museum dedicated to national sports at downtown's historic Bowling Green, once home to the city's earliest sporting fields, the New York Times reported.
Construction on the National Sports Museum is expected to begin this year at 26 Broadway, the former Standard Oil Building. Plans for the museum include exhibits promoting halls of fame, sports organizations, and foundations throughout the country, as well as a theater featuring a 360-degree video projection system. Additional exhibits dedicated to individual sports could include "subtle but distinct scents, such as chlorine in the swimming area and popcorn, cut grass or cotton candy in the baseball area," the Times added.
Philip Schwalb, the founder and chief executive of the museum, has been planning the National Sports Museum for more than two years and has selected Manhattan-based architectural firm Beyer Blind Belle to create the $60 million structure, the Times reported.
While Schwalb is still working with the city and Landmarks Preservation Commission to finalize the initiative, he expects the museum to open next year, according to the Times.
Trinity Church Installs New WTC Memorial
Wednesday, April 28: Trinity Church installed a 650-pound bell commemorating the WTC attacks at St. Paul's Chapel last week, the New York Times reported.
Situated among the historic gravestones in the chapel's yard, the new memorial was cast in 2002 by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London and was presented as a symbol of London's "enduring links" to New York City, said the Times.
The bell, which displays the phrase "Forged in adversity," is mounted on a three-and-a-half-foot block of brownstone, etched with a replica of the new WTC complex design by Platt Byard Dovell White Architects.
Trinity Parish's rector, Rev. Dr. Daniel P. Matthews, will step down from his position on Sunday, May 2, when Rev. Dr. James Cooper becomes the parish's 17th rector.
MTA Construction May Impact Sections of Battery Park
Thursday, April 29: MTA construction on a subway tunnel leading to the planned South Ferry Terminal may impact the location of artist Fritz Koenig's "Sphere for Plaza Fountain" in Battery Park and could uproot approximately 40 of the area's trees, the New York Times reported.
While the MTA has agreed to replant the trees, a decision over the fate of the 25-foot bronze sculpture -- which was relocated from its home at the World Trade Center's Austin J. Tobin Plaza to Battery Park after the 9/11 attacks -- has yet to be confirmed.
The LMDC recently signed an agreement with the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation that protects structural remnants and artifacts from the World Trade Center -- including Koenig's sphere -- so that they can be returned to the WTC site in the future.
Brookfield Properties Witnesses Surge in Downtown Market
Thursday, April 29: Property owner Brookfield Properties Corporation witnessed a growth in its lease rate for downtown properties in the first quarter of 2004, Dow Jones reported.
Brookfield Properties, which owns the World Financial Center and One Liberty Plaza, credited the growth of leasing activity downtown to optimism about the ongoing redevelopment process. This "optimistic buzz" results from several factors, Brookfield CEO Richard Clark was reported as saying, including unprecedented increases in spending on transportation improvements in the area.
Silverstein Loses Insurance Battle
Thursday, April 29: World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein will not receive his $3.5 billion insurance policy paid twice over, the Associated Press reported.
Silverstein contended that the destruction of the trade center should be declared as two separate events for insurance purposes, entitling him to two payouts of the $3.5 billion policy he was still negotiating when the towers were destroyed on 9/11.
But in a partial verdict -- reached after a 10-week trial -- a federal jury determined that the majority of the insurers are bound by a form that defined the September 11th terrorist attack as one event, said the AP.
According to the AP, it was the first of at least two trials that will settle how much insurance money will be available to reconstruct the WTC site.