Downtown Digest, Week of July 16, 2012

Another worker injury at W.T.C.
An ironworker was injured at 3 World Trade Center on Fri., July 13, according to officials. The man, who is employed by the Falcon Steel Company, was helping prepare a load of steel to be lifted from ground level when one of the beams rolled over him, said John Gallagher, a spokesperson for Tishman Construction, the construction manager for Towers 1, 3 and 4.

An ambulance arrived about 20 minutes later, and the worker, whose name wasn’t released, was transported to Bellevue Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to a city Fire Department spokesperson.

“We take the safety of the job site extremely seriously and treat it as a continuous process that involves all key stakeholders,” said Dara McQuillan, a senior vice president of Silverstein Properties, the developer of the W.T.C. site. “Whenever there is an accident, it is important to determine what went wrong, so we have set in motion an investigation of Friday’s accident in partnership with all the stakeholders at the World Trade Center.”

Gallagher said that Tishman is “cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation of the incident.”

This comes on the heels of two recent accidents. On June 26, a worker was injured after falling on a metal rebar, and on June 27, a load of steel being lifted by a crane crashed through windows on the 46th floor of 4 W.T.C.

Politicians barred from next 9/11 anniversary ceremony
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made the choice to keep politicians, himself included, out of the next 9/11 commemoration.

Joe Daniels, the president of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum — where the annual ceremony is held — wrote in a July 11 letter to 9/11 victims’ families, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, that “the reading of the names by family members will be the exclusive focus of the program.”

The decision to exclude all politicians was made after Bloomberg discussed the issue with the board of the 9/11 Memorial Foundation, which he chairs. In previous years, current and former elected officials recited historical readings or poems as part of the event. Over the past few months, it came to light that feuds related to political appearances, or lack thereof, may have started between the mayor and both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at last year’s tenth anniversary observance.

Cuomo complained that his father, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, was being hassled by security and then assigned an unimportant reading, while Christie complained about former New Jersey Governor Donald DiFrancesco not being invited, according to the New York Post.

More recently, Bloomberg rejected a proposal by the Port Authority of New York and New York Jersey — which is headed by Cuomo and Christie — to gain greater oversight of the 9/11 Memorial, saying that he wanted to keep it out of the “political process.”

Cuomo’s office did not return requests for comment.

Petition for monument to honor those killed by Ground Zero toxins
A Downtown resident has started an online petition urging authorities to build another monument on the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, to honor first responders and cleanup workers who have died from inhaling toxins at Ground Zero.

Allan Tannenbaum, 67, a Community Board 1 member and photojournalist from Tribeca, created the petition on May 31 after years of advocacy on behalf of those affected by 9/11-related toxins. His photo story “Still Killing,” published in TIME Magazine in 2006, documented cases of emergency and cleanup workers who were suffering from cancers and other incurable diseases years after the terrorist attacks, and who Tannenbaum said are often overshadowed by those who died on 9/11.

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum has plans to include an exhibit on those who’ve died from toxins when the building is completed.

Tannenbaum — who was a member of C.B. 1’s now-defunct World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee — said that when, during a committee meeting, he once asked 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels why the exhibit couldn’t be turned into its own monument on the Plaza, Daniels told him that it was because some Ground Zero workers have died from causes unrelated to toxins.

“But an exhibit just isn’t enough because of the awful illnesses and deaths that these people and their families have gone through,” said Tannenbaum. “I don’t think that we should kill the whole idea just because there might be a handful of names on that wall who didn’t die from 9/11 toxins.”
The petition had gained 233 online signatures by Mon., July 16, and can found at

M.T.A. agrees to M9 bus route extension, says Speaker Silver
The Metropolitan Transit Authority (M.T.A.) has agreed to restore M9 bus service into and out of Battery Park City starting in January 2013, according to a July 17 release from NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office.

B.P.C. service on the M9 line has been nonexistent since 2010 due to M.T.A. budget cuts. The 2013 route extension will connect the East Village, Lower East Side, Chinatown and City Hall with Battery Park City — providing direct service to Bellevue Hospital Center and the N.Y.U. Medical Center, as well as providing better access to local ball fields and schools.

The agreement was reached primarily because of direct action from the Speaker, who approached M.T.A. Chair Joseph Lhota several weeks ago to discuss many of his constituents’ wishes to have the service restored.

“I applaud the M.T.A. for agreeing to bring back this vital transportation service as we continue to successfully rebuild our Lower Manhattan community,” the Speaker stated.

An M.T.A. spokesperson said he could not confirm or deny the restoration of the M9 service, adding that the agency will not be able to comment until the route extension is voted on at its July 25 board meeting.

A.A.F.E. to boycott Chinatown hotel in support of Hester Street tenants
Chinatown residents and community leaders gathered on Fri., July 13, to support Asian Americans for Equality (A.A.F.E.) as it launched an official protest of the Chinatown Wyndham Garden Hotel and landlord William Su’s treatment of the former tenants of 128 Hester St.

Standing outside the new 18-story hotel at 91-9 Bowery, protesters once again called on Su to provide compensation to the eight families — 29 people — who lost their homes in August 2009 when the building was evacuated by the city Department of Buildings (D.O.B.) because of dangerous structural flaws. Before it was demolished, the D.O.B. had noted that the deterioration was due in part to the hotel’s construction on the lot adjacent to 128 Hester St.

Su has also repeatedly failed to comply with a 2010 order from the N.Y.S. Division of Housing and Community Renewal to pay relocation fees to his former tenants.
“He has been treating the tenants in a way that nobody in our community should ever be treated,” said Peter Gee, A.A.F.E’s director of housing and community services.

In addition to asking residents and organizations to sign a petition urging Su to compensate the displaced tenants, A.A.F.E. is now calling for a boycott of the Wyndham, which will open later this year.

“When Wyndham and William Su have the ceremony to open up this hotel, respect the tenants of 128 Hester Street,” said Gee. “Do not go to the ceremony. Do not use the Chinatown Wyndham Hotel. Do not support William Su. He has screwed over the tenants, and we are here today to tell him that we demand justice.”

Su could not be reached for comment by press time.

Menin maxes out fundraising for borough prez primary
Former Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin is off to a strong start in her campaign to be Manhattan’s next borough president, having already raised all of the funds she can legally spend before the Democratic primary in September 2013.

In a six-month fundraising period that ended on July 11, Menin told the Downtown Express she had raised more than $476,000. Along with funds accumulated during the two-month filing period between January and November, Menin has now raised over $950,000 in approximately eight months.

With matching funds from the city Campaign Finance Board, that total pushes her to $1.45 million — the limit that can be spent on the upcoming primary — giving her an early edge over her opponents.

“That fact that we’ve maxed out in fundraising 14 months ahead of the primary date means that we can already move on to stage two of the campaign,” said Menin. “That will involve continuing to go into every neighborhood in Manhattan, to talk with voters and community groups.”

She added that her campaign has received over 1,750 individual donations, with the majority of donors contributing $250 or less.

Menin served as the chair of C.B. 1 for seven years before stepping down last month. Her three rivals in the Democratic primary — Jessica Lappin, Gale Brewer and Robert Jackson — are all behind her in fundraising, although Lappin is closing the gap, having raised about $740,000 so far, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Scott Stringer, the current Manhattan Borough President, plans to run for mayor next year.

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