April 15th - April 21st, 2005
Downtown Residential Market Surge Stays Steady
Friday, April 15: Lower Manhattan's residential real estate market continues to grow at record pace, with nearly double the amount of residents living below Chambers Street than before September 11, 2001, according to real estate experts, the New York Times reported.
Based on recent statistics, there are more than 30,000 residents living below Chambers Street, up from the 15,000 to 20,000 recorded before 9/11. Additionally, more than 9,000 office units have been converted into apartments, a third of them since 2001, and several new residential buildings are planned near the World Trade Center site, the paper said.
While Lower Manhattan remains the third-largest commercial district in the country, trailing midtown Manhattan and the Loop in Chicago, the surge in residential real estate marks a key development in the downtown rebuilding effort, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "Vision for Lower Manhattan," which calls for a mixed-use 24-hour community, the Times noted.
"I think we are coming to the point of reaching an appropriate balance of commercial and residential in Lower Manhattan," Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development, told the Times. "We have to monitor very carefully what happens to that balance."
While New York City's population boom in recent years and the accompanying surge in prices have caused many residents to relocate downtown, post-9/11 incentives, such as the Liberty bond program and a grant program for reduced rents for downtown, are also credited for the upsurge, the paper added.
Staten Island Ferry to Get Hi-Tech Makeover
Friday, April 15: Staten Island ferryboats may soon be equipped with new digitized navigational charts that will automatically alert operators if a boat veers off course or is in danger of crashing, the New York Post reported.
A pilot program, scheduled to launch in May, will install the technology on the Andrew J. Barberi -- the same ferry that collided with a dock in October 2003, killing 11 passengers and injuring 71 others, the paper said.
According to a New York Times article, New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall reviewed a plan for aggressive changes to the ferry system during a review of the federal investigation of the 2003 crash before New York City Council. Included in the plan is the purchase of new safety equipment, the hiring of dozens of new employees and the development of a safety plan.
Archivists Launch Survey of WTC Records
Wednesday, April 20: An archivist organization announced that it will conduct a survey of records related to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and compile a registry of institutions offering information about the attack, as well as responses from people directly affected by the event, the Associated Press reported.
The Archivist Round Table of Metropolitan New York Inc., a nonprofit organization comprised of more than 330 archivists, librarians and record managers, is asking all individuals and organizations with records, information or artifacts related to the 9/11 attacks to fill out a survey available on the group's website, AP explained.
Funded by a $24,365 grant from New York State's Documentary Heritage Program, the project seeks to organize the information in a database, much of which will be made available to researchers, AP added.
Tribeca Film Festival Kicks Off Its Fourth Year
Thursday, April 21: Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Tribeca Film Festival co-founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff to kick off the fourth annual Tribeca Film Festival. The event will showcase more than 250 features, documentaries, and short films - along with interactive speaking panels, free community events, and a Family Festival -- in locations throughout Lower Manhattan before its close on May 1. For complete coverage, click here.
Subways Back on Track After Chambers Street Blaze
Thursday, April 21: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that full service on the A and C subway lines has been restored, after months of extensive repair required after a fire tore through Lower Manhattan's Chambers Street subway station and disrupted service on both lines, the New York Times reported.
The January 23 blaze, which is thought to have been caused by a small fire in a tunnel near the Chambers Street Station, spread to the station's underground central control center and destroyed a signal relay system. The signal equipment, which dates back to the 1930s, is responsible for detecting train locations and signaling the authorization of train movements to train operators through a series of traffic light-like communications.
Although MTA officials initially predicted the service disruption would last three to five years, a revised repair plan that included a temporary system to control train signals, and round-the-clock work allowed for the majority of the service on the A and C to resume on February 1.
According to MTA estimates, the replacement of the damaged signal equipment is expected to cost in excess of $10 million and is expected to take several years to complete, the Times added.