More construction uproars are happening in Battery Park City. A West Street underpass will be erected between the World Financial Center, which is owned by Brookfield Properties, and the new World Trade Complex, while the Vesey Street bridge will be torn down.
However, even more distressing is that the Grand Staircase at the Winter Garden inside the World Financial Center is also being removed. The staircase, which was erected after September 11th, allows employees and tourists to move between levels of the World Financial Center and doubles as seating for free events that take place at the Winter Garden. The owners of the WFC want to tear them down and replace them with escalators to increase the efficiency of foot traffic.
The Winter Garden will go back to it’s original roots as a connection to the World Trade Center.
In a move that is set to break hearts in our community, a likely victim will be the beloved World Financial Stairs. After several weeks of speculation and a protest from the SEBC union workers in the World Financial Center, the stairs will be demolished to make way for a connection path from the Fulton Street Transit Hub.
The World Financial Center was connected to World Trade Center mass transportation through the Vesey Street bridge, which was destroyed during the 9/11 terror attacks.
In light of the rebuilding of both the World Trade Center and Fulton Street Transit hub, Brookfield Properties has announced a plan to connect Battery Park City with an underground tunnel. According to Brookfield, keeping the Winter Garden Stairs â€œwould not only create an obstacle between the escalators from the underground tunnel and the Winter Garden, but would also waste a once-in-a-century opportunity to open the interior of lower Manhattan to the waterfront,â€ according to letter correspondence between Brookfield and City Planning officials according to the Downtown Express.
It is speculated that by eliminating the stairs would also provide increasing retail space in the World Financial Center, increasing revenue for Brookfield Properties.
In July, Community Board 1 officials have put in a formal request that the stairs be preserved. They are often seen as a standing landmark of the terror attacks and also provide unparalleled views of the waterfront. Officials from City Planning as well as Brookfield properties are set to address the demolition of the stairs when the Community Board is back in session in September.
The top of the stairs is currently used by tourists as a prime viewing area of the World Trade Center site.
Residents have been disheartened by news of the potential demolition of the stairs,
“The Winter Garden, and especially the Staircase, has become an iconic symbol of renewal as well as being the most beautiful space downtown,” says Betty Heller on BatteryParkCity.com,“Â Destroying it would be an act of vandalism akin to the destruction of the Pennsylvania Railroad Station. Brookfield has been a remarkably good guardian of this precious space until now. It would be a shame to destroy their reputation.”