October 8th - October 14th, 2004
City Conducts Downtown Disaster Drill
Saturday, October 9: As part of the city's efforts to improve its emergency response plans, the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Department of Transportation (DOT) staged a disaster drill aboard the Staten Island Ferry, Newsday reported.
The drill, which was the first of its kind to incorporate the ferry, was conducted in response to a recommendation from a team of consultants appointed to investigate ferry service after the October 15, 2003, Staten Island ferry crash that claimed the lives of 11 people and injured dozens of others, the paper explained.
"We looked at a lot of things, including how we got the information, the first response, scrambling units, getting police helicopters in the air, creating an emergency operations center," OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno told Newsday about the mock event. "We learned a lot."
During the simulated accident scene, senior officials from the Police Department, Fire Department, Coast Guard, and 20 other agencies responded to a simulated bomb explosion aboard the Guy V. Molinari ferry, the latest edition to the Staten Island ferry fleet, Newsday said.
Planners of the drill elected to transport the injured passengers to Lower Manhattan, where there is greater access to hospitals specializing in burn injuries, the paper added.
New HIP Headquarters Open in Lower Manhattan
Tuesday, October 12: The Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York, known as HIP, held its opening for its new corporate headquarters at 55 Water Street. HIP's move from midtown represents one of the biggest corporate relocations to Lower Manhattan following the events of September 11, 2001. The company has leased close to 500,000 square feet at 55 Water Street, one of the world's largest buildings.
HIP is relocating 2,000 jobs and will create up to 500 new jobs at its new downtown headquarters. The private insurance company received a cash grant worth more than $10 million as part of the federal money used to attract or retain companies in Lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11, known as the Job Creation and Retention Program (JRCP).
"HIP's decision to move to Lower Manhattan sends a strong signal to the entire New York City business community that downtown's recovery is well underway," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the company's ribbon cutting ceremony, also attended by Gov. George Pataki.
Founded in 1947, HIP provides medical care to its nearly one million members through a network of approximately 22,000 providers. It is the largest HMO in the New York metro area.
Anthony L. Watson, chairman and CEO of HIP, said in a statement, "We were founded here 57 years ago and have been serving New Yorkers continuously since then. Our hearts, our spirit, and our energy are here. We wanted to bring all of that and more to a place that has meaning. Downtown Manhattan is that place."
New Tennis Courts Open in Hudson River Park
Tuesday, October 12: A ceremony was held today to unveil three new tennis courts in the Lower Manhattan portion of Hudson River Park.
"Paramount to the revitalization process in Lower Manhattan is improving the quality of life for its residents," Kevin M. Rampe, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), said in a statement. "Under Governor Pataki's leadership we have allocated $25 million for a park renaissance -- creating and improving over a dozen parks downtown. We committed an additional $2.6 million for Hudson River Park, a waterfront oasis and a tremendous asset to the community and its visitors. These 'green' amenities will help lift the spirits in Lower Manhattan as the area evolves into a true mixed-used community."
The new tennis courts are part of an effort, proposed by the Hudson River Park Trust and funded by the LMDC, to strengthen the neighborhoods of Tribeca and Battery Park City. These courts were built to replace the tennis courts in Battery Park City that were closed after September 11, 2001.
Located along the Hudson River between West Houston and Canal Streets, the tennis courts are free and open to the public. Hours of operation are from 6 a.m. until dusk during the spring, summer, and fall.
Architects Chosen to Design WTC Cultural Complexes
Tuesday, October 12: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) announced the selection of Gehry Partners LLP and Snøhetta as the designers of the performing arts complex and museum complex, respectively, at the World Trade Center site. For complete coverage, please click here.
Jury Selected for WTC Insurance Trial
Tuesday, October 12: Officials at a Manhattan federal court selected the jury for the second World Trade Center insurance trial between WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein and nine insurers, scheduled to begin on October 18, the Associated Press reported.
The jurors, 10 women and two men, will ultimately decide if the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center consisted of two separate occurrences or one single event, a decision that affects the total insurance payout entitled to Silverstein, AP said.
Silverstein, who contends that the destruction of the trade center should be declared as two separate events, stands to collect a double insurance payout from each insurer involved in trial -- totaling an additional $1.1 billion -- if the jury rules in his favor, AP noted.
Earlier this year, a separate jury ruled that the collapses of the Twin Towers was a single event based on language outlined in the contract between the two sides, limiting Silverstein's insurance payout to a single payment of $3.5 billion.
First Annual Tribeca Theater Festival Approaches
Wednesday, October 13: The founders of the Tribeca Film Festival announced a new performing arts event known as the Tribeca Theater Festival, which will run from Tuesday, October 19, through Sunday, October 31, in Lower Manhattan.
"Tribeca is home to dozens of theater companies of all shapes and sizes. By creating the Tribeca Theater Festival, we hope not only to draw attention to the quality of theatrical talent in the city but to highlight the variety of performing arts available in Lower Manhattan," Jane Rosenthal, one of the founders, said in a statement.
The theater festival, founded by Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, and Craig Hatkoff in association with the acclaimed off-Broadway theater company Drama Dept., is presented by American Express and celebrates theater by supporting talented artists and their work and promoting the downtown theater community.
The main highlight of the festival is The Downtown Plays, which are nine plays in two hours with ten actors performing various roles in each. They are directed by John Rando, 2002 Tony Award winner for best director of a musical for Urinetown.
In addition to the main event, the festival will feature a full slate of diverse programming, including film screenings, free readings, and panel discussions, to be held at Tribeca Cinemas on Varick at Laight Street.
For more information, please visit www.tribecatheaterfestival.com or click here.