November 4th - November 10th, 2005
A WTC Rebuilding Milestone Is Reached Without Fanfare
Friday, November 4: Construction crews began building a 168-foot-long wooden trough through the south tower footprint at Ground Zero, creating the foundation of architect Santiago Calatrava's PATH terminal and transportation hub at the new World Trade Center site, the New York Times reported.
"Don't laugh, it's a milestone today," Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano told the Times about the project's unceremonious beginning. The Port Authority owns the WTC site and is building the $2.2 billion terminal over the next four years.
Laid by Brooklyn-based Beaver Concrete Construction Company, the new wooden trough stands 18 inches high and 6 feet 3 inches wide and will hold steel reinforcement bars. The "rebars," as they are called, will be covered by concrete to create the foundation for one of the hub's seven-foot-high concrete retaining walls, the paper explained.
Once the wall is complete and packed with an estimated four feet of fill, ballast will be laid for a temporary PATH track -- Number 6 -- alongside what will become the hub's fourth and westernmost platform (Platform D), the Times added.
For more about the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, including construction updates, click here.
Four Visions Proposed for Governors Islands Future
Sunday, November 6: The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) issued four redevelopment proposals for the transformation of Lower Manhattan's historic Governors Island, the Post reported.
According to the "Destination Island" proposal, the 172-acre island would be converted into an entertainment location, featuring outdoor amusement rides, a shoreline amphitheater, a theme hotel, conference centers, and "resort residential" units. The historic landmarks on the island's north side would be preserved, while buildings on the south side would be razed, the paper explained.
The second model, "Innovation Island," focuses on research and education, featuring a business school; a sports complex; and a research campus with dorms, stores, restaurants, and a band shell, as well as maintained landmarks. Another model, "Iconic Island," boasts the theme "the island as the center of the world" and combines a boutique hotel and historic buildings with high-rise buildings, a conference center, a hotel, and housing, the Post said.
Lastly, the "Minimum Build Island" proposal seeks to maintain much of the island's current model, adding only restaurants and retail establishments to the preserved historic buildings. The island's entire south side would be parkland, the paper added.
According to the GIPEC, the island's development will cost between $217 million and $368 million under the current parameters of the plan, which mandate public access and 40 acres of parkland, as well as the preservation of at least 62 landmark buildings. The GIPEC hopes to select the winning design by the end of 2006 and begin construction in late 2007, the Post said.
For more about Governors Island, click here.
Fulton Fish Market May Finally Be on the Move
Tuesday, November 8: After a series of legal delays, Lower Manhattan's historic Fulton Fish Market is preparing to move to a new, state-of-the-art facility in Hunts Point, the Bronx, following a settlement in the court case between Laro Services Systems and the New Fulton Fish Market Cooperative, a group of wholesalers at the market, the New York Times and Daily News reported.
According to the court settlement, Laro Service Systems -- a company that has held a monopoly on the market's unloading business since it won the job in 1995 -- will continue to operate as the market's exclusive unloader for the next three years, after which the Market Cooperative or any other organization could bid for the job. Additionally, the Market Cooperative will pay the tens of thousands of dollars it owes to Laro, and a new monetary dispute system will be put into place, the Times explained.
Earlier last month, a justice in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled in favor of Laro Service Systems, agreeing that allowing the Market Cooperative to unload themselves would violate a 1995 New York City law instituted by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani intended to rid the market of its longstanding ties to organized crime. Lawyers for the city, which supported the Market Cooperative, appealed the decision, resulting in the settlement between the two sides.
The market is expected to pack up its operations and open on Monday, November 14, in its new, $85 million home in the Bronx, the News said. For more about the Fulton Fish Market, click here.
Walker Details Plans for WTC Memorial
Wednesday, November 9: Peter Walker, the landscape architect for the World Trade Center Memorial, detailed plans for the site, including its use as a 24-hour public space and the maintenance of the original WTC slurry wall, the Daily News reported.
"It's intended at this time that the Memorial Plaza will be open 24 hours," Walker said in an online forum conducted at the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation's website, the paper reported.
In accordance with the design developed by architect Michael Arad, the memorial will feature two large voids containing recessed pools filled by falling water to mark the footprint of the original WTC towers. The fountain, explained Walker, will run continuously except at extremely cold temperatures when the gently falling water would freeze in the air, the News explained.
The plaza's landscape will be adorned with hundreds of trees, mostly white oaks and some sweetgum trees that were selected for the robust, red color they turn in September, around the time of the 9/11 anniversary, the paper said.
Walker also explained that the WTC's original slurry wall, which survived the towers' collapse, will be visible "down through a line of skylights" and along the memorial arrival ramp. It will also form one wall of the adjacent WTC Memorial Museum, the News added.
To date, the WTC Memorial Foundation has raised more than $100 million of its $500 million goal to the build memorial, which is scheduled for completion in 2009.
For more about the World Trade Center Memorial, click here.
Security Firm Tapped for WTC Site
Wednesday, November 9: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) granted a contract to a Virginia-based security firm that directed security operations for the Athens Olympic Games to oversee safety and security at the World Trade Center site, the Associated Press reported.
Science Applications International Corporation was awarded an eight-month contract by the LMDC to develop a security plan for the redevelopment effort at Ground Zero. As part of the agreement, Science Applications will work alongside former New York FBI boss James Kallstrom, who was hired by Gov. George Pataki last year, as well as state and city officials in coordinating security at the new WTC site, AP explained.
Construction of the $2.2 billion WTC Transportation Hub began in September, and groundbreakings for the Freedom Tower and WTC Memorial are scheduled for early next year, AP added.
LMDC Announces Allocation Process for Cultural Enhancement Grants; Awards $10 Million to Drawing Center
Thursday, November 10: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) announced its allocation process for awarding $35 million in cultural enhancement funds, calling on cultural institutions to apply for grant funding by late December. As part of the announcement, the LMDC said it will dedicate up to $10 million in cultural enhancement funds for the creation of the Drawing Center at a new downtown facility.
"As Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg have stressed, culture is a priority for downtown's revitalization," said LMDC President Stefan Pryor in a statement. "Our previous allocation of $50 million for the Performing Arts Center along with this $10 million pledge to help the Drawing Center build a new home downtown and the additional grants we will be awarding from the $35 million in cultural enhancement funds demonstrates our strong commitment to the arts. And it furthers our efforts of transforming the Lower Manhattan community into a 24/7 community to work, live, and visit."
As part of the allocation process announcement, the LMDC board of directors appointed a five-member panel to oversee the distribution of the grants. Its members include Richard Schwartz, chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts; Kate D. Levin, commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs: Tom Finkelpearl, executive director, Queens Museum of Art; Eddie Bayardelle, director of global philanthropy, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.; and Anita Contini, senior vice president and director of corporate and public affairs, CIT Group Inc.
Applications for grant funding, as well as a link to submit questions and additional information, will be available on the LMDC's website at www.renewnyc.com beginning Monday, November 14. Potential applicants can also call (212) 587-9327 for more information. Final applications must be submitted to the LMDC by December 22, 2005, in order to be considered.
Transportation Bond Act Approved, Paves Way for Increased Access Downtown
Thursday, November 10: The approval of the Transportation Bond Act in the November 8 elections will pave the way for three major construction projects, including the long-awaited Second Avenue subway line, the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) connection at Grand Central Terminal, and a rail link from Lower Manhattan to Kennedy Airport, the New York Post reported.
According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), crews will break ground next year on the Second Avenue subway line's first phase, which will span from 96th Street to 63rd Street. The $450 million to be raised through the bond act will help the MTA garner enough money to begin building only the subway's $3.8 billion first phase. MTA officials expect that the completed line will run from 125th Street to Hanover Square in the Financial District by 2012, the paper explained.
The bond act, which permits the MTA and New York State Department of Transportation to float nearly $3 billion in bonds, includes $100 million for the planning and study of a new rail link between Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan. The link would provide faster travel between Kennedy Airport and the Financial District. The bond act will also allow for construction to continue on the East Side Access project that will connect the LIRR to Grand Central, the Post said.
For more about the Airport Rail Link from Lower Manhattan to JFK, click here.