Downtown local

Memorial hearing
Before they review the deluge of memorial competition submissions, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the memorial selection jury would like to hear from you. On Wednesday, May 28, the L.M.D.C. will hold a forum, “Public Perspectives: World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition,” from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College, at 199 Chambers St.

Those who cannot attend the forum are invited to participate by sending their comments by e-mail to, by fax to 212-962-2431 or by mail to L.M.D.C Public Comment, One Liberty Plaza, 20th Floor, NY, NY 10006.

The memorial is open to anyone, anywhere in the world 18 years of age or older, but competitors must first register by May 29, 2003 to participate.

Whitman resigns
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Todd Whitman resigned her post last week, saying in a letter to President Bush that she wanted to return home to her husband in New Jersey.

Whitman, 56, led the agency during the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster and was criticized for declaring New York City’s air safe to breathe the week after Sept. 11, remarks that were later declared premature by the E.P.A.’s Office of Inspector General.

In her letter to Bush, Whitman wrote: “…the Agency has played a key role in responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the subsequent anthrax attack and in promoting the security of our homeland. The work EPA did in the aftermath of those attacks will long be a proud chapter in this Agency’s history.”

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler blasted Whitman’s letter in a prepared statement: “As the Congressman representing Ground Zero and the surrounding areas, I can say that the agency’s response to September 11th is a shameful chapter in EPA’s history, and I hope the agency is not proud of it. The EPA response to the September 11th attacks was more than a complete disgrace. It was, in fact, malfeasance.”

Nadler urged the next administrator, who has not been named, to begin a comprehensive cleanup program for all interiors still affected by hazardous debris from the trade center. He added that the cleanup must abide by the strictest scientific standards for cleaning and testing and must also abide by all worker safety regulations.

In testimony last Thursday before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the U.S., Nadler further condemned the E.P.A.’s response to 9/11, criticizing the voluntary nature of the Lower Manhattan cleanup, its focus on residential and not commercial spaces or schools, and the difficulty obtaining information about the program. 

At an Earth Day press conference in City Hall Park in April, Whitman responded to the discovery of elevated lead levels found in a Battery Park City apartment, results found during the E.P.A. cleanup and reported by the Downtown Express: “…we are very concerned about what might be there that we didn’t know and so we’re working very closely with the C.D.C. [Centers for Disease Control] and the Department of Health to do long-term studies of the impact.”

Whitman’s resignation will be effective June 27.

Teen beach Party
On Friday, May 30, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the Battery Park City Neighbors’ and Parents’ Association presents Teen Pier Invasion, a free, beach party-themed blast for teens 13 to 18 years old at Pier 25, near N. Moore St. Manhattan Youth and Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee are joining the association in bringing local teens volleyball, barbeque and other events at the party, where parents are barred (chaperones will be present).

Downtown Express photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio

Chef Laurent Richards of 2 West with his pear tarts at Dine Around Downtown last week at Chase Plaza. Rain cut down on the crowds at the event sponsored by the Downtown Alliance, but Richards still served over 400 of his tasty treats.

Grant deadline
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced that it has made it easier for residents to apply for Sept. 11, 2001 residential grants by accepting new ways to prove your residence. Some residents have been unable to apply for the program because of their individual living situation. The deadline for applying to the grants is May 31. Residents with questions on the information below should call the L.M.D.C. hotline at 1-866-736-3969, or visit the L.M.D.C.’s Web site at

Museum project
The trustees of the New Museum for Contemporary Art have chosen the Tokyo-based partnership, SANAA, Ltd., to design the museum’s new $35 million building at 235 Bowery.

The partnership of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa won over four other international firms that the museum had invited to apply after a two-and-a-half-year search.

Plans for the new museum, on what is now a parking lot between Stanton and Rivington Sts., call for a 60,000 sq. ft. building — double the size of the New Museum’s current building at 583 Broadway south of W. Houston St.

The SANAA, Ltd. design will be completed and made public this fall, with construction to begin in the summer of 2004 and an opening projected for the early part of 2006. The new building will have a new media center, a black box theater, a bookstore, classrooms and a study center, and a café, according to Saul Dennison, board of trustees president.

In last week’s issue, we misidentified the male dancer from the Battery Dance Company who was pictured performing in City Hall Park. His name is Maurizio Nardi.


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