June 17th - June 23rd, 2005
Damaged Downtown Statue Restored to Honor 9/11 Victims
Friday, June 17: A popular New York City sculpture of a businessman, formerly located at downtown's Liberty Plaza, has been restored after sustaining significant damage during the 9/11 attacks, the Daily News reported.
After 9/11, the battered bronze statue -- named "Double Check" -- became a symbol of those who lost their lost lives on September 11, 2001. In the days following the attacks, rescue workers placed an FBI hard hat on its head and a coil from a fire hose at its side while others placed messages honoring loved ones who died, the paper explained.
The statue's sculptor, Seward Johnson, restored "Double Check" in his Mercerville, New Jersey, studio, removing several layers of toxic dust from its exterior. After it was cleaned, Johnson gave the statue an ashen-gray coating to replicate the way it appeared after 9/11, the News said.
Johnson also created a twin casting of his original statue to serve as a 9/11 memorial. It includes the same mementos left by those in the days following 9/11 set in bronze. The casting will be formally unveiled in Liberty State Park, which looks out on Ground Zero from Jersey City, New Jersey. The original "Double Check" will return to Liberty Plaza after a planned renovation of the park is completed next year, the paper added.
New Outdoor Café Opens Near Ground Zero
Monday, June 20: One of downtown's newest outdoor eateries opened at the Millenium Hilton hotel, directly across the street from Ground Zero, on Friday, the New York Times reported.
The only outdoor café in immediate proximity to the World Trade Center site, the 44-seat café is an extension of the Millenium's indoor bar, Liquid Assets, located on Church Street. The hotel itself reopened in May 2003 after undergoing $35 million in renovations required to repair the damage the building endured during the 9/11 attacks, the paper explained.
According to the Millenium, plans for the café had been in the making for the past year and were designed to provide visitors to Ground Zero, as well as area workers, with a place relax and eat. "There's really no place for these people to go…We felt this would be an additional service not only for our guests but to the tourists of Manhattan," Jim Santostefano, director of revenue management at the Millenium, told the Times.
9/11 Family Members Protest Plans for International Freedom Center
Tuesday, June 21: More than 200 family members of those who died during the September 11, 2001, attacks gathered at Ground Zero to protest plans for the International Freedom Center -- the museum proposed for the new WTC site, the New York Times reported.
While plans for the museum have not yet been finalized, protesters reacted strongly to information on the Freedom Center's website (www.ifcwtc.org), which stated that the center would include an education and cultural center "that will nurture a global conversation on freedom in our world today," the paper said.
Many relatives have expressed concern that the museum's focus on freedom milestones around the world would detract from honoring 9/11 victims. According to some critics, the center could also become the site of political protests against United States foreign and domestic policy, rather than a tribute to the victims, the Times explained.
While taking into account the protesters' concerns, rebuilding officials defended the International Freedom Center and are moving forward with current plans, as well as with plans for the WTC Memorial, among other projects, the paper noted.
It's important that what we have here is not a place for political polemics, but a place to memorialize the history of man's march toward freedom and to remember the role that September 11 plays in that important march," John P. Cahill, who was recently appointed by Gov. George Pataki to lead the overall downtown rebuilding effort, told the Times.
Last week, Gov. Pataki announced plans for two interim memorial projects for the World Trade Center site.
Red Cross to Deliver $16 Million to Aid 9/11 Workers
Tuesday, June 21: The Red Cross announced that it will deliver an additional $16 million to fund health programs and services, as well as other assistance programs, to an estimated 15,000 9/11 workers who responded to the scene at Ground Zero, the Daily News reported.
Part of the $1 billion raised by the agency after September 11, 2001, the funding will assist first responders, including firefighters, medics, police officers, and volunteers, who were exposed to dust, debris, and other dangers during rescue efforts, the paper explained.
Assistance will be given to the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and other organizations to aid relief workers. An estimated $6.2 million has been earmarked for treatment programs at Mt. Sinai, which has already screened and diagnosed several workers, the News said.
Museum Debuts Downtown History Exhibit
Tuesday, June 21: The Museum of the City of New York launched a new photography exhibit detailing the demolition of an estimated 60 acres of 19th-century buildings below Canal Street between1966 and 1967.
The three-month exhibit, titled "The Destruction of Lower Manhattan," presents historic pictures by renowned photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon, who captured on film nearly every building that was torn down to make room for the former World Trade Center.
"The Destruction of Lower Manhattan" runs through September 18.
Federal Study Seeks to Guide Skyscraper Design
Wednesday, June 22: After three years of exhaustive research into the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will call for major revisions to the planning, construction, and operation of skyscrapers, the New York Times reported.
The federal recommendations, devised to increase survival rates of tenants in the event of an emergency, will include a call to change current evacuation strategies, which only mandate evacuation capacities for a few floors near a fire or other emergency situation, the paper explained.
While the NIST's proposals are not binding, they are designed to strongly influence building policies across the country. Officials expect a debate over the costs of the recommended changes, as initial research by structural engineers suggests the alterations would add two to five percent to development costs of ordinary buildings, the Times added.
The NIST is expected to release its final 10,000-page report, which includes 25 pages of recommendations, to the public on June 23.
Silverstein Launches Camera Balloon at Ground Zero
Wednesday, June 22: Silverstein Properties Inc. launched a helium balloon outfitted with a camera above Ground Zero to take pictures of what the view from atop the Freedom Tower will look like when the building is completed, the Associated Press reported.
The 13-foot-long helium balloon hovered an estimated 1,400 feet above Ground Zero for several hours, guided by a team of specialists hired by Silverstein to take the photos, AP explained.
Silverstein, the developer of the site, plans to use the photos in marketing materials for the Freedom Tower, as well as several of the other projects at the site, AP added.