June 3rd - June 9th, 2005
South Street Seaport Sends Artifacts to Albany
Friday, June 3: Due to financial concerns, the South Street Seaport Museum has arranged to send an estimated two million New York City artifacts to the New York State Museum in Albany for safekeeping, Newsday reported.
The artifacts, unearthed during architectural digs around the city over the past two decades, include items such as toothpaste jars, children's toys, shoe buckles, and clay smoking pipes dating back three centuries, the paper said.
Last June, financial problems caused the Seaport Museum to cut its staff, which included its chief archaeologist. After several unsuccessful attempts throughout the year to obtain additional funding, the museum was forced to find a new home for its collection. Its artifacts are expected to complement the state's collection of more than 500,000 historical objects obtained from urban excavations in Albany, Newsday added.
LMDC Strikes Deal for New Liberty Park Property
Sunday, June 5: After months of negotiations, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) struck a $59 million deal to acquire a piece of downtown property that would complete its plan to create the new Liberty Park as part of the expanded World Trade Center site, the New York Times reported.
The vacant property, owned by the Milstein family since 1978, spans less than half an acre on the south side of Liberty Street and represents the final piece of real estate needed to construct Liberty Park. The lot will serve as only a small piece of the park's western half, under which a vehicle ramp and security checkpoint leading to underground roadways, loading docks, and parking spaces will be constructed, the paper explained.
While New York State could have acquired the Milstein family property through eminent domain, LMDC President Stefan Pryor explained that the corporation instead strove to reach an amicable agreement between the two sides. "We've been vigorously working on a deal behind the scenes in an effort to avoid any form of litigation. And we succeeded," he told the Times.
Prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks, the property served as a parking lot until the New York City Department of Design and Construction seized control of it and later transferred it to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the paper added.
New Air Quality Monitoring Program
Tuesday, June 7: The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) has announced that this summer it will begin collecting background data as part of a long-term air quality monitoring program. Once the major projects are underway, the research gathered will be used to monitor air quality levels in those areas most affected by heavy construction activity, thereby ensuring environmental safety for the downtown community. For complete coverage, please click here.
Contractors Ready to Bid on First Phase of Deutsche Bank Building Deconstruction
Tuesday, June 7: The 40-story building at 130 Liberty Street, formerly owned by Deutsche Bank, took a step closer to deconstruction when companies planning to bid for the contract to erect scaffolding on the battered structure examined the site, the Daily News reported.
After learning that the irreparably damaged building contained significant amounts of asbestos and other contaminants as a result of the 9/11 attacks, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) acquired the structure in 2004 to ensure its safe deconstruction, the paper explained.
The corporation hopes to award the scaffolding contract on July 1 and choose a separate firm for the demolition at a later date. According to rebuilding officials, the work could begin as soon as this summer and take up to 18 months to complete, the News added.
For more information about the Deutsche Bank Building, please click here.
Police Okay New Security Measures in Freedom Tower Design
Wednesday, June 8: During a hearing with the New York City Council, police counterterrorism officials announced that the new design plans for the Freedom Tower will fulfill the department's security recommendations, the New York Times reported.
"We have positioned ourselves exactly where we should be to ensure that the Freedom Tower is the beautiful, elegant, secure, safe, robustly designed project that we all want it to be," said Deputy Chief John Colgan, who leads the department's counterterrorism unit, the paper said.
In response to the concerns raised by the Police Department, Gov. George Pataki last month ordered the tower to be redesigned with the department's recommendations in mind. Architects are currently redesigning the tower to set it farther away from the street to limit the possibility of damage from car explosives. To reinforce the structure, designers are also considering broadening its base and eliminating the tower's signature "twist," the Times explained.
The redesign of the Freedom Tower is expected to add tens of million of dollars to its estimated $1.5 billion cost. Architects are scheduled to release the new design at the end of June, the paper added.
Federal Officials Plan to Withdraw 9/11 Aid
Thursday, June 9: Federal officials announced that they expect to revoke $169 million in misused and unspent relief aid granted to New York after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, the Daily News reported.
While Congress contends that the unused money should no longer be needed, New York officials argue that the funding is part of President Bush's $20 billion pledge to the city after 9/11, the paper explained.
"We expect the President will make good on his promise to New York for the full $20 billion -- no ifs, ands, or buts," Senator Chuck Schumer told the News. A Bush spokesperson refuted the claim, saying that the federal government exceeded its $20 billion pledge by almost $1 billion, the paper added.
According to a Government Accountability Office report, $44 million of the funds earmarked for administrative costs was improperly spent instead to compensate victims. Additionally, the House of Appropriations committee plans to withdraw another $125 million intended for workers' compensation for first responders, unemployment payments, and retraining for workers who lost their jobs. According to New York State, the money was not used because it exceeded the amount of claims that were received, the News said.