The Associated Press reports that despite a general culture of fear and the devastation caused in the wake of the September 11th attacks, downtown Manhattan has enjoyed a population boom.
As it turns out, people werenâ€™t driven from the area that is associated with the most horrific terrorist attack to ever occur on American soil. They were attracted to it! Census figures released last week show that the number of people living near Ground Zero has swelled by about 23,000 since 2000, making it one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the city. Around 46,000 people reside south of Chambers Street, which is the Ground Zero area.
Just over 82, 000 people live South of Canal Street, which is 15 blocks north of the former site of the Twin Towers. That figures equals a 43 percent increase from 2000 and includes Battery Park City.
Are you surprised that the Ground Zero area has enjoyed population growth despite the terrorist attacks, and the memory of them?
Whew! New York City visitors and tourists, not to mention thousand of New York and New Jersey federal employees and local vendors, can breathe a sigh of relief as the federal government reached a plea deal at the eleventh hour this past weekend, avoiding a shutdown of the government and its services. A trickle down economic effect would have gone into place had the deal not been reached, reports NBC New York.
If the deal was not secured, employees would not have reported to work due to a furlough and the city’s ten national parks and historic sites, including the Statue of Liberty, Grant’s Tomb and Ellis Island, would have been closed, which would be incredibly bad news for local vendors and concessionaries depending on the visitors of the attractions for their income. A spokesman for the National Park Service said that the Statue of Liberty entertains 10,000 visitors per day in April, which translates into a lot of revenue for local sellers.
Do you ever visit local, historical attractions like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island?
The Daily News reports that the families of victims of the 9/11 terror attacks have spoken out about the city’s plans to place the still unidentified remains of those lost in a museum that will be exist 70 feet below ground. Only 59% of the victims of the attacks have been identified in the past decade.
A vocal group of protesters would like city officials to contact the families of all 2,749 victims of the terror attacks, which are coming up on their 10th anniversary, for their opinions before building a below-ground repository inside the museum. The families are not opposed to the idea of a museum; it’s the location of said museum that they are unhappy about. A lawyer for the group said, “We are not against the remains at the museum, but the fact they want it on a public setting and 70 feet below ground level.â€
Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son perished during the attacks, said family members should be allowed to make the final decision about the remains. “The city is making human remains an attraction of the museum,” Regenhard said. “We demand a separate [location] above ground, fully accessible to the public area – not in the basement of a museum.”
Despite these protests, museum spokesman Michael Frazier contends victims’ families were told about the location of the repository back in 2006. The repository will be under the city medical examinerâ€™s control and will not be open to the public.
What do you think of the plans to place the museum below ground?
The snowy, icy, precipitation-filled winter of 2011 is (thankfully) in the rear view, but the Battery Park City Authority is still mulling over the possibility of putting an ice rink in the region. According to Downtown Express, Community Board 1â€™s Battery Park City Ballfields Task Force met in late March to discuss alternatives.
The problem is where to place the ice rink. The ball fields just north of Murray Street between West Street and North End Avenue were discussed as an option, but the skating season would be limited to a mere eight weeks, as the fields are used for soccer through November and for baseball as soon as March. Additionally, an operator would be required to build and disassemble the rink.
The BPCA does not want to invest in or subsidize an ice rink. Whomever would operate it would need to find a corporate sponsor. Plans were discussed at Community Board 1 Battery Park City Committee meeting, which took place on Tuesday at 1 World Financial Center.
Would you like to see an ice rink in Battery Park City?
According to the Wall Street Journal, Water Street in Lower Manhattan may be considered for an overhaul in order to make it a more pedestrian friendly road. While many streets, such as Broadway, have exchanged portions of the road occupied by cabs and cars for pedestrians and cyclists, the Financial District has remained more car oriented.
However, the Economic Development Corporation is actively seeking consultants to conduct analysis of the street and to pose a more â€œpedestrian-oriented environment,â€ including a median, more trees, better lighting and public art. Water Street is one of the few Lower Manhattan streets that has enough space to make this dream a reality. The Downtown Alliance is pushing for this change and had proposed turning the area between South Street Seaport and State Island Ferry Terminal at Whitehall into a boulevard with less traffic lanes in favor of more greenery and pedestrians. The Downtown Alliance noted that the area is mostly commercial and that it empties out in the evenings and on weekends and has little in the way of retail or dining and thus less power to attract visitors, tourists or even locals
“The potential improvements will transform Water Street into an active pedestrian destination for the entire area to enjoy,” said Kyle Sklerov, a spokesman for the agency.
What do you think of the potential changes to Water Street?
Battery Park Cityâ€™s five-year old City Library may receive a pair of five-foot tall bronze lions to be placed out front, just like Midtownâ€™s Public Library! According to Yahoo, Community Board 1 member Tom Goodkind has partnered with sculptor Tom Otterness to create the lions. Roar!
There have been continuous discussions about having lions adorn the front of the library, but funding was always an issue. However, a kind, anonymous donor with income to spare has come forward to infuse some cash into the idea, pushing it closer to reality.
Otterness has made several sculptures around the city and Battery Park, so he was an obvious choice to make the lions that would guard the library.
A meeting is scheduled for April 6th at 6 PM at the Battery Park City Authority Office to see if the idea will fully come to fruition.
Do you think the BPC library should have lions out front?
The Lower Manhattan Arts League, the network of independent arts powerhouses the banded together in 2008 in order to cross-pollinate their audiences and bring high quality arts to densely packed downtown districts, announced the schedule for its second annual Spring Downtown Festival, which begins March 21st and runs through May 4th. It’s an 11-week extravaganza of affordable arts events. The LMAL will offer wine, beer, tasty treats and live performances for Manhattanites looking to ingest a little downtown culture.
The programming is available here but overall, you can expect to enjoy documentaries, music, workshops, kids events, public play readings and arts discussions, among other things.
Will you be attending the second annual Spring Downtown Festival?
A video taken by a NYPD helicopter as it circles the burning World Trade Center towers during the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is quite possibly one of the most chilling events ever caught on tape. The video was recently released and can be viewed here.
The clip is approximately 20 minutes in length and the copter hovers incredibly close to the Twin Towers after both had been hit by commercial aircraft. The copter gets dangerously close to the burning buildingsâ€¦ almost too close. It is incredibly difficult to watch with such a bird’s eye view, even though it is essentially a historical document.
The video also captures the collapse of the Towers from a safe distance. Someone is heard saying, “We got out of there at the right time.”
A man was struck by a struck on the corner of North End Ave. and Murray St. on Friday, March 4th at 6:15 PM. The intersection is considered among the most dangerous in the Battery Park City section of Manhattan, as there is no traffic light installed, forcing drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to have to rely on one another’s navigation skills and look in multiple different directions when crossing.
A reader was kind enough to supply this YouTube video of the weekend accident. It is not graphic and simply displays the commotion at the scene.Â Further details about the victim and his condition were not readily available.
Do you think the North End Ave. and Murray St. intersection is dangerous? What can local officials do to make it safer for users?
Millions of visitors are expected to flood into the September 11th Memorial at the World Trade Center site, many traveling from sizeable distances via a bus. The Tribeca Trib reports that the city has yet to figure out how to handle the influx and volume of bus traffic. The Community Board 1 is looking at a variety of possible plans pertaining to where the buses will drop off their tour groups, where they will park and how many buses the streets of Manhattan can physically handle, but no solutions have been provided nor have problems and concerns been resolved.
The only information provided was that officials said that they were considering several possible drop-off and layover locations. A concrete plan is expected to be hammered out by April, which is next month, so time is of the essence. One suggestion that was bandied about was to have the tour bus companies shuttle passengers between Long Island City or Liberty State Park, where memorial visitors can take the subway, PATH or ferry. Itâ€™s efficient, and those are typical touristy things that visitors like to do and experience while traipsing around the Big Apple.
City officials and Memorial staff are hoping that a timed reservation system, similar to the one used for the Statue of Liberty, will help lighten the load.
What are you planning to do to commemorate September 11th?