February 27th - March 4th, 2004
Panel to Evaluate EPAs 9/11 Cleanup Efforts
Monday, March 1: A 17-member panel comprised of scientists, environmental experts, and one downtown resident has been formed to assess the effectiveness of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) cleanup efforts downtown following the 9/11 attacks, the New York Times reported.
Prompted by criticism by area officials and residents about the EPA's removal of hazardous dust and debris, the panel will retest 840 of the 4,200 apartments that were cleaned and evaluated by the federal organization to ensure that they were properly decontaminated. Additionally, the panel will conduct investigations to determine whether the residences have been compromised by debris found in the building's ventilation systems, explained the Times.
The EPA's Dr. Paul Gilman, who will help spearhead the investigation as the panel's chair, is scheduled to present the preliminary testing plan at the panel's first meeting on March 31. After the results of the testing are announced in June, the group will issue recommendations to federal environmental officials, according to the Times.
State Officials Approve Street Vendor Bill
Monday, March 1: State officials voted in favor of a bill that would limit the number of street vendors on New York City's crowded sidewalks.
The new bill, which calls for the reinstatement of restrictions upheld in a street vending law that expired last year, would also prevent vendors from setting up within five feet of street corners and create two new "no-vending" areas -- one around the World Trade Center site and another on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, said the New York Times.
Last year, a reported 10,000 vendors peddled on city streets -- far in excess of the 850 general merchandise licenses and 60 disabled vendor licenses granted by the state, the Times reported.
The bill has already been passed by the State Assembly and Senate and is pending final approval from Gov. George E. Pataki.
Downtown Deutsche Bank Building to Be Demolished
Monday, March 1: City and state officials announced that Lower Manhattan's Deutsche Bank building will soon be demolished, providing more open space at the WTC site and additional parking facilities for buses. The 40-story building, located at 130 Liberty Street, was severely damaged on September 11, 2001, by debris from the nearby WTC. For complete coverage, click here.
DCP Issues WTC Site Recommendations
Monday, March 1: The NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) called for several alterations to the WTC redevelopment plans, recommending that additional streets, wider sidewalks, and more retail space be added to increase activity and access to the WTC site, reported the New York Times.
While the LMDC and site planners worked to investigate these suggestions, an additional debate surfaced over a portion of an underground concourse system planned to connect Battery Park City to the rest of Lower Manhattan.
The DCP voiced objections to a north-south portion of the concourse that would run parallel to Church Street and include retail space, cautioning that retail outlets should be located on street level to contribute to the WTC site's vitality. Officials from the Port Authority and LMDC contended that the current concourse plan is appropriate, according to the Times.
According to officials, it would require a two-thirds majority vote by the LMDC to oppose the recommendations proposed by the City Planning Commission on behalf of the DCP, the Times reported.
Calatrava Proposes Design for Downtown Residential Building
Wednesday, March 3: Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava proposed his design for an elaborate downtown residential tower at 80 South Street. The design consists of a dozen 45-foot glass cubes that could each provide living space for either one or two families. The cubes would be stacked atop an eight-story foundation, which could house a museum or other cultural institution, reported the New York Times.
The tower would replace a six-story brick building currently located at 80 South Street and would be one of the city's tallest apartment towers. While there is no official confirmation that Calatrava's tower will be built, the project's developer, Frank J. Sciame, projected that its completion would be in 2006 or 2007, said the Times.
Calatrava, who was selected to design the WTC transportation hub, has been involved in New York architecture for more than a decade. The proposal released this week for 80 South Street is his first design for a residential building in the United States.