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Freedom Tower to Soar 1,776 Feet Above City
The birthday of our nation marked the beginning of construction on the World Trade Center Site. On July 4th, New York Governor George E. Pataki, New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg laid the cornerstone for what one day will become the world's tallest building, the Freedom Tower located on the northwest corner of the 16-acre site. "To honor and remember those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001 and as a tribute to the enduring spirit of freedom – July Fourth, 2004," read the inscription.
State and City officials were joined by approximately 500 downtown community leaders and families of those who lost loved ones on September 11th.
"Today we take 20 tons of Adirondack granite – the bedrock of our State – and place it as the foundation, the bedrock of a new symbol of American strength and confidence. Today, we lay the cornerstone for a new symbol of this city and this country and of our resolve in the face of terror. Today we build the Freedom Tower," said Governor Pataki.
"How badly our enemies underestimated the power and endurance of freedom. In less than three years, we have more than just plans on paper – we place here today the cornerstone, the foundation of a new tower," exclaimed Governor Pataki.
Steel for the Freedom Tower is expected to rise to the sky into 2006 with initial occupancy of the building in late 2008. It will contain 2.6 million square feet of office space on 72 floors, and connect directly to the World Trade Center PATH Station and to New York City subway lines.
"Today is a historic day for the City and the nation. As we lay this cornerstone, we remember that the liberties, which are the bedrock of our nation, can never be shaken by violence or hate," said Mayor Bloomberg.
"This is a time of both reflection on our nation's rich history and renewal of the American spirit, which is the driving force behind our rebuilding efforts for Lower Manhattan and the creation of a beautiful and fitting memorial and new World Trade Center complex," added John C. Whitehead, Chairman, Chairman of the LMDC.
"The Freedom Tower will lift our spirits and restore our skyline. It will stand as a proud testament of our resilience and an important part of our 16 acre memorial to all of our heroes lost at the World Trade Center Site," said Kevin M. Rampe.
Renderings of the Freedom Tower and other World Trade Center elements are available at www.RenewNYC.com.
New Goals for Lower Manhattan
New York City came one step closer to reclaiming its skyline July 4th when the cornerstone was laid commencing construction on the world's tallest building, the Freedom Tower, two months ahead of schedule. Governor George E. Pataki made the revelation May 5 during a luncheon in Lower Manhattan.
"On July 4th, as we commemorate the founding of our nation, we laid the foundation for our resurgence. On July 4th, as fireworks burst in the sky – ephemeral reminders of our liberty – we will begin to reclaim our skyline with a permanent symbol of our freedom," said the Governor.
This transformation from "paper to steel" on July 4th was one of the Governor's new milestones in an aggressive timeline for continuing to revitalize Lower Manhattan. His list of goals consisted of several projects coming up this year, including the completion of a full schematic design of the World Trade Center Site Memorial by the end of 2004. Making the memorial, Reflecting Absence, into a reality will be a collaboration between Architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker with associate architect Davis Brody Bond LLP. Construction drawings will be finished by 2005 with construction on the memorial beginning in 2006.
The Governor also called upon the LMDC to financially assist family groups for the creation of a space to serve as a welcoming center where family members, survivors, residents and visitors can preserve their memories through audio recordings, writings and archives. He added that "[the memorial process] has been filled with honest differences of opinion and powerful streams of emotion. Even while the memorial is in development, we will offer family members a place to remember their loved ones in peace, and a place to come together in unity."
As progress continues to be made on the future of the WTC site, present obstacles are being resolved. This includes the announcement that the Deutsche Bank's deconstruction will begin in the fall. The Deutsche Bank building was heavily damaged September 11, 2001 when it suffered a 15-story gash after the south twin tower collapsed. The razing of the building will increase open space, provide for off-site bus parking and reduce the building density on the World Trade Center site.
Improvements to the transportation infrastructure also emerged in the Governor's speech. A new Fulton Transit Center will link 12 subway lines serving Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. "Morning commuters will no longer step off trains into a dimly lit labyrinth of corridors, but instead into a broad and open concourse awash in sunlight," said the Governor. Another transportation project mentioned was the Port Authority's ferry service between Lower Manhattan and both LaGuardia Airport and JFK International Airport. Service to LaGuardia Airport will begin this year and JFK Airport service will start in 2005.
The numerous updates and goals were made to a standing room only crowd at a luncheon hosted by the Association for a Better New York at the Ritz Carlton. To view the entire Governor's speech, visit www.RenewNYC.com.
Revitalizing a Downtown Neighborhood
In an effort to drive visitors back to Chinatown, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, working with NYC & Company, announced on May 10th the official launch of Explore Chinatown. This two-year campaign will reinforce Chinatown's importance as a visitor destination and cultural gem.
Following the events of September 11th, local businesses lost as much as 50 percent of their profits, causing some longtime Chinatown fixtures to close. "This tourism campaign will help boost Chinatown's economic recovery…[it] is one of New York City's most vibrant neighborhoods and this marketing effort will help ensure that both New Yorkers and visitors are reminded of all that this community has to offer," said Governor George E. Pataki.
The campaign includes a one-on-one business development and marketing assistance to area business owners and not-for-profit cultural organizations. Other initiatives include support of new and existing neighborhood events and festivals, possible corporate sponsorship opportunities and a website. In addition, an information kiosk will be constructed that will be stocked with information about Chinatown's cultural and community activities as well as information on downtown dining, entertainment and shopping.
"There is a lot going on downtown, and this campaign will inform New Yorkers and visitors from around the world about the global hub of culture, commerce, and history located in the Chinatown area," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Explore Chinatown team members are visiting local businesses to request involvement, explain the project and inform locals on the significance of tourism. Bonnie Wong, president of Asian Women in Business said, "Business owners have to be proactive. Part of this campaign is to teach them how to do that, how to better market themselves, how to differentiate themselves from other similar businesses."
New York City's Chinatown is the largest in the United States, boasting the highest concentration of Chinese immigrants in the Western Hemisphere. It is home to many garment factories, restaurants, jewelry stores and banks. There are also hard to find shops like tea houses, martial arts suppliers and traditional medicine stores. Events like the Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festivals draw crowds from all over the world.
Lower Manhattan Rebuilding Timeline
Hudson River Park's Pier 40 will be turned into a new recreational field, large enough to accommodate two games of baseball or soccer simultaneously.
Fulton Street Terminal
Downtown's 300,000 subway riders will have a new glass-domed Fulton Street Transit Center by the end of 2007. The newly designed transportation complex addresses long standing obstacles to improve Downtown access by harmonizing a tangled web of nine subway lines connecting Lower Manhattan and the rest of New York City. Other improvements include greater access to the World Trade Center, World Financial Center and Battery Park City; reduced station and transfer passage crowding; and improved reliability of subway operations.
Letter from the Chairman
With the Governor's recent announcement of new downtown improvement projects – building upon the successful projects announced last year – the LMDC continues its work not only on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, but also on the revitalization of all of Lower Manhattan. The past few months have brought the successful completion of number of milestones as well as the start of numerous exciting new projects. With each passing day, the excitement builds in Lower Manhattan.
At the World Trade Center site, we completed our environmental review and put in place the final pieces of the World Trade Center site plan, clearing the way for us to lay the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower this past July 4th – a fitting start date for that symbol of the strength of our democracy. In early June, we finalized the WTC Environmental Impact Statement and Memorial and Redevelopment Plan – 3,600 pages of public input, research, analysis, and design compiled over the past year. In mid-June, we announced the selection of four cultural institutions – the Joyce International Dance Center, the Freedom Center, the Signature Theatre, and the Drawing Center – to develop facilities at the World Trade Center site. Standing adjacent to the memorial, these facilities will serve as our response to the terror of September 11th – they will help to make the World Trade Center a place where the goodness of humanity is affirmed, and a place where culture will forever conquer terror.
Beyond the site, we are embarking on programs across Lower Manhattan that will help downtown thrive. In March, the LMDC and our partners at the September 11th Fund, NYC & Company, and our Chinatown Advisory Committee launched the Explore Chinatown tourism campaign. This campaign will help tourists and New Yorkers alike discover Chinatown's broad range of stores and renowned restaurants. In May, the LMDC held History and Heritage Day at the World Financial Center Winter Garden, as part of our Museums of Lower Manhattan campaign. This free family event showcased over a dozen of the Lower Manhattan cultural institutions that comprise the campaign, including the Statue of Liberty, the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, and the New York Police and Fire Museums. This May, the LMDC also provided funding to the Tribeca Film Festival, one of the signature events in Lower Manhattan and a great showcase for all that downtown has to offer for filmmakers and film connoisseurs. This summer, we are funding the 2004 River to River Festival organized by the Downtown Alliance. Since its inception in 2002, the festival has grown to become the largest free cultural arts festival in New York City, having drawn over a million people to Lower Manhattan over the last two years.
Among the key infrastructure projects for Lower Manhattan recently announced by Governor Pataki is a proposal to build a rail link from downtown to Long Island and John F. Kennedy International Airport. This transportation link is critically important to Lower Manhattan's future, providing the potential for a commute up to 40% faster to Jamaica for Long Island commuters and a one-seat ride to JFK Airport for air travelers. The LMDC and its partners at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority, and New York City Economic Development Corporation concluded a feasibility study in May that recommended the construction of a new tunnel under the East River between Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan as part of this rail link. The study also concluded that the new tunnel could be completed within a decade. Looking ahead, we look to continue to take the steps necessary to make this project a reality.
As demonstrated by all of these wonderful programs, there are great things happening in Lower Manhattan both in the near term and the long term. I encourage you to experience them all firsthand. Enjoy a delicious meal in Chinatown or visit an exhibit at one of the Museums of Lower Manhattan. Take a stroll through the newly-restored historic Bowling Green or attend a concert in the River to River series. In the coming years, look skyward as the Freedom Tower rises. These strides are just the beginning. The best is yet to come in Lower Manhattan.
Another Successful Tribeca Film Festival
This May's Tribeca Film Festival exceeded expectations, bringing in over 400,000 people to this year's activities– more than twice the amount of the first festival in 2002. The festival was the first major event in Lower Manhattan following the September 11th attacks. This year's festival was supported by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, who committed to a two-year, $3 million dollar sponsorship.
Over 80,000 tickets were sold to 446 movie screenings and 20 panel discussions in various locations from May 1 through May 9. The success of the festival prompted Governor George E. Pataki to say, "In the two years since the Tribeca Film Festival began, the event has become world-renowned and has succeeded in attracting close to half a million people to Lower Manhattan. It is a great event that is contributing to the rebuilding process by generating buzz, attracting new visitors and bringing cultural vitality to downtown."
The LMDC's sponsorship funded events included the year-round Tribeca All-Access Program, Film Festival Panels and Workshops. The LMDC chose each program primarily for their contributions to the economic revival of Lower Manhattan and the promotion of downtown as a cultural hotbed.
Many of the LMDC sponsored programs were available to the public at no cost and were designed to educate attendees. "The popular Tribeca Film Festival has played an increasingly important cultural role in New York. This significant funding will expand the Festival's efforts to include free programs for the public, while also providing a broad range of economic benefits for Lower Manhattan," noted LMDC Chairman, John C. Whitehead.
"It brought hundreds of thousands of visitors downtown, not only to enjoy the films and programming, but all that Lower Manhattan has to offer. We were pleased to be able to assist the festival with a grant for the next two years and I want to personally congratulate the Festival and its founders on the success of this year's festival," said LMDC President, Kevin M. Rampe.
Women Answer Call
The echoes of nails being driven into 2x4s welcomed more than 700 hundred women to Pace University in Lower Manhattan on March 31. Next to the group pounding hammers, female painters displayed the proper paint techniques while electricians demonstrated wiring techniques. These demonstrations and panel discussions were part of the conference Opportunity Downtown: Women Working, whose goal was to educate women about the construction industry and encourage the attendees to join this field.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation spearheaded the event to highlight the numerous opportunities in the field, especially the number of construction projects on the World Trade Center Site in the coming years. An estimated 40,000 full time construction workers will turn 60,000 tons of steel and over 100,000 cubic yards of concrete into 10 million square feet of new office space.
"Women have worked hard to advance in the workforce and this is an excellent opportunity to participate in one of the largest rebuilding efforts in the history of New York. Of special interest will be the wide range of good paying jobs with excellent benefits," said John C. Whitehead, Chairman of the LMDC.
"Although the number of women in this field is low, the high attendance rate at the event throws out the misconception that women do not want these jobs," said Kevin M. Rampe, President of the LMDC. He added that this event is only one of several activities the LMDC is focusing on to ensure that women have the opportunity to assist in the rebuilding of New York City.
"The number of women in the trades has only grown from 1% in 1978 to about 3% in 2001 nationwide. In the past, it has been difficult to achieve a critical mass of women in the trades. The large number of opportunities available through the rebuilding over the next decade will allow women to achieve this critical mass in Lower Manhattan," said Amy Peterson, LMDC Vice President for Memorial, Cultural, and Civic Development.
One of the panelists, Elly Spicer from the New York District Council of Carpenters, was more than thrilled to provide guidance on steps needed to enter an apprenticeship program. "I did not grow up wanting to be a carpenter. I never knew a woman who worked in the trades until I was a staff member at the Non-Traditional Employment for Women (NEW)," she said. Women interested in learning more about the trades can contact NEW at (212) 627-6252.
The event was in cooperation with the City and State of New York, Nontraditional Employment for Women, Legal Momentum (formerly known as NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), Building Trade Employer's Association and the General Contractors Association.
15 Cultural Institutions
Museums of Lower Manhattan Family Day
On May 16, 3,000 individuals and families attended the History & Heritage Downtown Family Fun Day. The day-long festival featured more than a dozen major cultural institutions at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center.
The free event featured areas for families to enjoy musical performances from new and established artists as well as crafts for children. Each institution in attendance displayed an activity or event that spoke to Lower Manhattan's rich and varied history, providing a broad cultural survey.
With easy waterway access, Lower Manhattan has always been a trade and transportation center, more so than any other section of the city. The area is also known as the world's financial center and home to Ellis Island, the famed entry point of more than 10 million immigrants. Organizations like the Skyscraper Museum and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum joined other institutions to exhibit and celebrate Lower Manhattan's history.
"History and Heritage Downtown Family Day allowed families to get a taste of what these institutions are all about and encourage them to spend a weekend in Lower Manhattan visiting the cultural treasures, as well as the area's restaurants, shops and open spaces," said Kevin M. Rampe of the LMDC.
The variety of institutions represented allowed families to visit activities like the South Street Seaport Museum's crafts, tattoos and wood carving demonstrations on the wooden tugboat W.O. Decker. The Museum of Chinese in the Americas invited families to create Opera masks, shadow puppets or New Year's masks and followed the handiwork with a dance from the Fong's Hung Ga Lion Dance Team. At the New York City Police Museum site, families put on genuine NYPD uniforms and got pictures taken or caricatures made after a performance from the NYPD Emerald Society's bagpipers.