October 7th - October 13th, 2005
Chinatown Receives Red Cross Redevelopment Grant
Friday, October 7: The American Red Cross announced that it will award the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation a $422,000 grant to help the neighborhood recover from the damaging economic effects of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Crain's New York Business reported.
Through the Red Cross's Liberty Disaster Relief Fund, the Chinatown Partnership will receive $422,000 to help restore at least four area parks. They include Park Row, Chatham Square, Pier 35 along the East River, and James Madison Park, as well as a new area along the waterfront, the publication explained.
The grant will also help launch new initiatives, such as a Chinatown Night Market and a bilingual community guide program that will provide information about the community to both visitors and residents, Crain's said.
The Chinatown Partnership was formed after 9/11 to develop programs to better connect Chinatown with its surrounding downtown neighbors, the paper added.
LMDC Board Members Disapprove of Patakis Removal of IFC
Friday, October 7: Several members of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) board, including its chairman, John C. Whitehead, criticized Gov. George Pataki's decision to remove the controversial International Freedom Center museum from the WTC memorial area during the board's monthly meeting downtown, the New York Times reported.
In addition to board members' objection to the Freedom Center's removal, some also protested that the governor's sudden decision undermined the LMDC's planning and evaluation process and could jeopardize the agency's effectiveness in the ongoing redevelopment plan, the paper explained.
"In all candor, I must report that most of our board, including its chairman, were quite distressed that a process which we had established two years ago with the full public approval was not allowed to work its way through to conclusion," Whitehead announced as he opened the meeting, the paper said.
Immediately after Pataki's decision to remove the International Freedom Center from the WTC cultural complex, the museum declared itself to be out of business, the Times added.
For complete coverage on Pataki's announcement, click here.
Tests Begin to Preserve WTC Slurry Wall
Saturday, October 8: Rebuilding experts concluded a nearly month-long sampling process that involved extracting 30 small samples from the World Trade Center's exposed slurry wall for testing so that engineers can decide how to preserve the wall as a museum artifact at the WTC site, the New York Times reported.
"Now that the slurry wall has been laid bare and infused with meaning," Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) President Stefan Pryor told the Times, "it's our obligation to preserve it and ensure that all who come to the site have the opportunity to view it and pay tribute at it."
Since September 19, engineering teams have strategically removed samples from sections of the slurry wall to undergo compression tests, as well as a petrographic and microscopic analysis to test for chlorides, sulfates, fire damage, and other evidence of deterioration, the paper explained.
The four- to five-week testing phase will determine the wall's condition and the preservation process necessary to include it as a visible, possibly tangible, centerpiece of the underground 9/11 memorial museum being planned at the WTC site, the Times said.
Despite the slurry wall's survival of the 9/11 attacks, several steps have been taken to temporarily reinforce the compromised structure and have significantly altered its original appearance. New tendons were installed to anchor the wall to bedrock, and a liquid concrete known as shotcrete was applied to protect its surface, the paper added.
Bloomberg Pledges More Active Role in Rebuilding
Thursday, October 13: As part of a new economic development program, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he will increase his involvement in the downtown rebuilding effort -- a post that is currently dominated by Gov. George Pataki, the New York Times and New York Post reported.
While the downtown redevelopment effort involves several parties, including Gov. Pataki, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), and developer Larry Silverstein, Bloomberg's announcement is the first mention of increasing the city's role in the process, the Post explained.
"I think it's getting to the point now where the city just has more of an interest and can have more to do," Bloomberg told the Times. "We've got some of the projects going and this is the time for us to work, with the governor, with the Port [Authority]." Bloomberg also called upon the Port Authority, which owns the World Trade Center site, to set an example for area businesses by relocating its headquarters there, the Times said.
Though part of his reelection campaign, the mayor's announcement also comes on the heels of a poll conducted for Pace University that revealed that Lower Manhattan residents have grown increasing pessimistic about the progress of downtown's rebuilding. Of the 518 Manhattan residents living below 14th Street surveyed, 43 percent said that the rebuilding was going in the wrong direction and 36 percent said that it was going in the right direction. Compared to a similar poll conducted a year ago, the number of respondents that said rebuilding efforts were on the wrong track roughly doubled this year, the Times explained.
Polling experts credit delays at 130 Liberty Street, the redesign of the Freedom Tower in response to security concerns, and the International Freedom Center and Drawing Center's removal from the WTC site for the change, the paper added.
Trial in '93 WTC Attack Continues
Thursday, October 13: The civil trial to determine if the February 26, 1993, car bombing in the garage under the former World Trade Center could have been prevented continued, with the center's former director, Charles Maikish, and a former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive both taking the stand, the New York Times and New York Post reported.
The suit charges the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- the buildings' then landlord -- with negligence and failure to safeguard the WTC site against terrorism despite a 1985 agency security report that identified the garage as vulnerable to attack, the paper explained.
The Port Authority maintains that any attack was unforeseeable and that the agency should not be held accountable for the resultant deaths and injuries. Maikish, who served as director of the WTC from 1990 to 1996, further testified that at the time of the 1993 attack, security concerns in the form of large-scale terrorist bombings were not considered a serious threat, the Times said.
If the court determines that the Port Authority can be held liable, separate lawsuits filed by hundreds of victims and business owners could move forward, the paper added.