Tag Archives: News

Map of estimated elemental carbon concentrations, summer 2009

Battery Park City/Tribeca Highest Smog Concentration

Map of estimated elemental carbon concentrations, summer 2009
Map of estimated elemental carbon concentrations (Credit: NYCDOH)

There’s something in the air in Battery Park City!

A report released by the New York City Department of Health yesterday confirms that even in our quiet neighborhood, our community district reports the “highest particulate concentration” or high levels of smog in the city.

Particulate matter consists of pollen, dust and other materials in the area — mostly found in high trafficked areas, or areas flanked by major highways or thoroughfares, including in our areas, the West Side Highway and the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.

Particulate Matter in New York City
Particulate Matter in New York City (Credit: NYCDOH)

The study which was conducted during the summer mont hs of 2009 also found that most of the major summertime pollutants are concentrated in densely populated areas, where traffic is more congested and where more fuel is used for cooking and water heating.

The particulants are small enough to “penetrate into the lungs, causing inflammation of the airways, exacerbating lung and heart disease.”

The study also stipulates that cities with high PM2.5 pollution had shorter life expectancies.

“The NYCCAS report reinforces the need to make our buildings more efficient and reduce vehicle emissions. The latest report also demonstrates that traffic congestion in the city’s central business districts has an impact on air quality throughout the city and must be viewed as a citywide issue.”

To view and access the entire report visit New York City’s Department of Health website.

Are you worried about the  air quality report in our area?

Conrad Hotel USA

New Details Released On Conrad Hotel in Battery Park City

Conrad Hotel USA
Conrad Hotel in Chicago is a peek into what's to come in BPC

In a new interview published by Hotelworldnetwork.com, details are coming forth about the new Conrad luxury hotel slated to open in Q4 2011.

The interview with head of luxury brands John T.A. Vanderslice discusses the Hilton’s luxury brands strategy in opening up its 5th United States location in Battery Park City.

According to Vanderslice, “Conrad’s forthcoming entry in the New York City market is indicative of the brand’s formidable development pipeline which also includes future properties in other important global cities such as Dubai and Beijing With regard to the timing of the Conrad New York announcement, our development decisions are made for the long-term and there are many indications that the luxury segment is rebounding with demand on the rise. Additionally, there is currently a relatively low luxury supply in New York’s Financial District so we hope to satisfy an important and growing market need.”

Considering there is a Ritz Carlton and a W hotel within a two block radius of Ground Zero, we’re not certain we agree with that sentiment.

Vanderslice also goes on to point out features of this new luxury hotel,

“A distinguishing feature of the Conrad New York will be the hotel’s typical room size. Typical rooms will average between 500 and 550 square feet, which is extremely generous by any standard, let alone by the space-conscious standard of New York hotels. Additionally, like all Conrad properties, the Conrad New York will feature the smart luxury, flawless service, and technological sophistication that enable guests to enjoy the rare luxury of being themselves.”

Keeping true to the hotel brand’s philosophy, “The luxury of being yourself.”

In a press release for the hotel, the proximity of the hotel to the Freedom Tower is being heavily touted. As well as a noted commitment to providing high end amenities and dining establishments within the hotel,

“The soaring, sunlit 15-story atrium lobby features a dramatic Sol LeWitt art piece rising 13 floors above the check-in desk.  Each luxuriously appointed guestroom will feature an average of more than 550 square feet, a minimum of two flat panel televisions and a full complement of contemporary electronic features.  Conrad New York will also feature upscale dining and beverage outlets that are consistent with Conrad’s global definition of luxury.  Interior design is being styled by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Office dA and Remedios Studios.

In addition, more than 17,000 square feet of flexible meeting space will ensure that guests can stay connected and meet in comfort, supported by state-of-the-art technology and meeting facilities.  A 6,000 square foot Grand Ballroom is designed to accommodate conferences and social gatherings for more than 600 participants.

Existing Conrad properties in the United States include Conrad Miami, Conrad Chicago, Conrad Indianapolis and Conrad San Juan.”

John Galt Corporation Deutsche Bank Contractor

Deutsche Bank Supervisors Claim They Are “Scapegoats”

Mitchel Alvo, Jeffrey Melofchik and Salvatore DePaola have pled not guilty to manslaughter in the fire that killed two firefighters responding to the blaze.
Former supervisors plead not guilty to manslaughter charges.

Supervisors being charged for the deadly fire at the former Deutsche Bank building in 2007 are claiming they are being “scapegoated.”

Mitchel Alvo, Jeffrey Melofchik and Salvatore DePaola have pled not guilty to manslaughter in the fire that killed two firefighters responding to the blaze.

The three men all had roles related to the safety of the site including asbestos-removal foreman to site safety manager.

According to a report from the Associated Press, prosecutors allege that “Alvo, Melofchik and DePaola knew that a vital firefighting water pipe was broken, did nothing about it and covered it up. The disabled pipe called a standpipe, cost firefighters critical time in getting water on the flames, playing a crucial role in creating the smoky inferno that ultimately killed firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffignino.”

However, the defense team claim the men did not realize the pipe was in fact a standpipe as it had never been identified by inspectors as such before the blaze. The inoperable pipe has been blamed as instrumental in the deaths of the firefighters. Their attorneys have claimed their clients are nothing short of taking the fall for other infallible organizations on the chain, including government agencies who are immune from criminal prosecutions.

“Why are they scapegoating a few defenseless people at the bottom of the line?” Edward J.M. Little, Melofchik’s attorney questioned during the hearing.

The lawyers of the defendants are calling for a dismissal of the case for a lack of evidence, while also claiming that had the standpipe been in proper working order, “The firefighters would have died anyway.”

The trial is set for January 18 and the dismissal motion will be heard on October 21.

Ground Zero Mosque

Public Hearing Today Decides Future of Mosque

Ground Zero Mosque
The planned location of the Ground Zero Mosque.

In the most contentious and controversial real estate construction plan in recent memory, today a meeting will be held to determine the fate of the Cordoba House Mosque on 45-47 Park Place.

Although most New York voters are against the building of the mosque slated for construction only 600 feet from the World Trade Center site based on a Quinnipiac poll,

Although a Quinnipiac Poll had suggested that nearly half of all New York voters are opposed to the construction of the Cordoba House — politicians in New York have been split. Gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio called upon current Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for a formal investigation into Cordoba’s funding, but yesterday Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a public response to Lazio’s investigation requests and any opponents of the mosque as being “un-American” and as going “against what the nation stands for.”

The last hurdle for mosque proponent has hinged on approval from the New York City Landmarks commission who’s hearing will be held today and is open to the public.

For those who are interested in attending, the public hearing for 45-47 Park Place application will take place at:

681 Park Avenue
Hunter College Assembly Hall
Entrance on East 69th Street between Park Avenue and Lexington
(Please bring a picture ID for entrance into the building)
The hearing will start at 2:00pm and ends at 5:00pm.

We’ll update the site when the ruling comes down from the hearing today.

Building Vacancies Drop in Battery Park City and Tribeca

Condo Sales Up in Manhattan — Except In Our Neighborhood

Condo sales rise citywide except in Financial District.
Condo sales rise citywide except in Financial District.

Condominium sales have climbed throughout all of Manhattan except in the Financial District, according to Radar Logic, the company that runs the RPX index which calculates condo sales. The RPX index measures 8 separate neighborhoods in Manhattan and reported that prices declined in five out of eight Manhattan neighborhoods, with our neighborhood accounting for the steepest drop in both sales and price per square foot.

In April, Manhattan condo sales had seen a stark rise to 383 units — 246 units over last years figures. However, compared with March numbers, April condo sales were up 20%.

An increase in condo sales is usually good news –except the overal price per square foot was down 6.9% year over year. Our neighborhood which is included with condominiums located in the financial district had reported an average price per square foot drop of nearly 16.% percent  — at approximately $869.21 per square foot. Whereas Murray Hill/Gramercy Park reported the biggest gain, with a 6.4% to $1,014.04 per square foot.

The decrease in square foot value is due to the amount of inventory in and around our area — with developers pricing units to sell. According to the report, “The principal problem facing the housing markets is one of oversupply — at the current levels of demand it will take years to absorb unsold inventory.”

Ground Zero performing arts center

Ground Zero Arts Center Gets $44M Boost

Ground Zero performing arts center
City finally gets the ball rolling on new WTC performing arts center.

A long-delayed project to erect a performing arts center at Ground Zero is finally picking up steam. New York City has stepped up to the plate with $44 million to help build the center’s below-ground foundation, according to the Associated Press.

The board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved a deal last week that will have the city repay the Authority for the work at the World Trade Center site.

Continue reading Ground Zero Arts Center Gets $44M Boost

WTC Transit Hall

Sorbara Construction Scores $86 Million WTC Contract

WTC Transit Hall
New WTC Transit Hall is one step closer to reality.

Good news for anyone eagerly anticipating the new World Trade Center PATH and subway hub designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava: Earlier this week, the Port Authority awarded an $86 million contract to Long Island-based Sorbara Construction Corp. to get the ball rolling on the project.

According to NJ.com, the firm will provide the concrete floor slabs, beams and walls that will comprise the sculpted components of Calatrava’s epic Transit Hall — which, along with the 9/11 Memorial and the 1,776-foot-tall WTC 1 (aka the Freedom Tower), is already being hailed by officials as another aesthetically pleasing, architecturally significant addition to the World Trade Center site.

Continue reading Sorbara Construction Scores $86 Million WTC Contract

John Galt Corporation Deutsche Bank Contractor

Contractor Investigated in Deutsche Bank Fire Lands Ground Zero Gig

John Galt Corporation Deutsche Bank Contractor
Do we really want former John Galt Corp. players working on 4 World Trade Center?

Regional Scaffolding and Hoisting Company, a contractor that was the focus of a criminal investigation into a 2007 fire at the Deutsche Bank building that resulted in the death of two firefighters (AND that remains under scrutiny for financial irregularities), is set to return to Ground Zero to work on the office tower at 4 World Trade Center.

According to The New York Times, documents filed with the city show that Regional Scaffolding was issued a permit two weeks ago to install a construction elevator at 4 WTC. And, yes, that means exactly what you think: A company being eyed for criminal negligence and fiscal shadiness has been rewarded with a prime gig at the office tower developer Larry A. Silverstein is constructing at the World Trade Center site.

Continue reading Contractor Investigated in Deutsche Bank Fire Lands Ground Zero Gig

Andaz Wall Street farmers market

Wall Street Hotel Sprouts Its Very Own Farmers Market

Andaz Wall Street farmers market
Andaz offers a farm-fresh new take on hotel amenities.

It used to be that a complimentary continental breakfast was the pinnacle of a hotel’s amenities. But in a time when 42-inch HD flat-panel TVs, iPod docks and free wireless Internet are considered the norm, hotels can be hard-pressed to impress.

Not so with the Andaz Wall Street Hotel, which (as its names suggests) is located on Wall Street and (as its name does not suggest) will be knocking the socks off its guests (as well as anyone else who wants to come) with a farmers market to be held on its premises every Saturday from July 10 through Nov. 20.

Continue reading Wall Street Hotel Sprouts Its Very Own Farmers Market

Governor David Paterson

Gov. Paterson to Gut Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

Fed up with ineptitude, D. Patz will LMDC heads roll this summer.
David Paterson

David Paterson doesn’t like ineptitude. In fact, he abhors it so much that he’s going to go ahead and  gut the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) this summer.

According to the New York Post, Gov. Paterson will slash the 35-person staff — which reaps a combined annual salary of around $3 million — down to a crew of just five. The reason for this drastic measure: The LMDC hasn’t doled out $540 million of the $3 billion in federal funds it was created to dispense, and it has yet to carry out one of its primary duties, the demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building.

The LMDC’s critics, which not so shockingly include one of its own board members, say the corporation has devolved into a money-sucking bureaucracy with only one goal in mind: to justify its own preservation.

Gov. Paterson hopes that this slash-and-burn will jolt the corporation into action, compelling those still left standing after the shakeup to put the remaining Congress-allocated cash to good use in the rejuvenation of Lower Manhattan. This includes paying off cost overruns of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, funding a planned performing-arts center, and giving money to non-profit groups and small businesses.

In fact, the LMDC still has $4 million in its coffers that is supposed to be dispensed in $25,000 increments as grants to local small businesses. And, according to a recent Community Board 1 survey, a whopping 66 percent of local small business owners didn’t even know they were eligible for these grants.

Sounds like the LMDC still has a whole lot of work to do — and pretty soon it’ll have 30 fewer people to do it.