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Rebuilding NYC

The Real Danger Of Anthrax



anthrax

As the number of anthrax exposures continues to increase, and with disruptions at major news organizations in New York, Governor Pataki's New York City office and the United States Congress, fear of the disease is spreading much faster than the spores.

The only antidotes for this terror are information and then appropriate action.

REASONS NOT TO PANIC

First, all forms of anthrax -- the inhaled form (pulmonary), the swallowed form (gastro-intestinal) and the skin type (cutaneous)-- are readily treatable. The anthrax which is currently being sent through the mail is susceptible to numerous types of antibiotics (including the very first antibiotic, penicillin), not just high-tech Ciprofloxacin. The disease is not contagious from person-to-person. If you believe you may have been exposed and want to know what the potential symptoms are, go to the Centers for Disease Control web site. Exposure does not mean infection, however. Most people who have tested positive for exposure will not develop disease even without treatment. Those known or suspected to have been exposed are given treatment just to be sure.

Secondly, the bleak data on survival rates from the most lethal form-- pulmonary anthrax -- was collected either before antibiotics or other modern supportive technology like respirators and IV fluids were readily available or from places like the former Soviet Union where access to appropriate treatment was uncertain and often delayed. Death rates are likely to be far lower than the reported 90 percent with antibiotics, quick discovery and modern supportive care.

The man in Florida who had the second reported U.S. case of pulmonary anthrax is recovering, and he is 73 years old. Elderly and very young people are usually at greater risk of dying from most infections, but the seven month old infected with the cutaneous form is also doing well. Cutaneous anthrax is fatal in only 20 percent of cases if untreated. With treatment, it is even less likely to be deadly. Gastro-intestinal anthrax has not been reported here, but it has a 25 percent to 75 percent fatality rate.

The odds that any particular person will get affected are also extremely low. "The post office handles 680 million pieces of mail per day," says Hillel Cohen, a doctor of public health and Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, "There have been half a dozen letters over three weeks. The odds of one coming across your desk-- [and coming across in a way likely to produce disease]-- are very low."

THE BAD NEWS

Even with the small number of cases reported so far, our public health system is having difficulty coping. A much greater risk than anthrax may be panicking over bioterror and trying "quick fix" solutions that won't ultimately protect people from either terrorists or natural diseases.

"The entire infrastructure is flawed and aching in budgetary pain," says Laurie Garrett, author of "Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health, "The system is stretched to the max."

The run on Cipro, for example, could have been stemmed by giving the public better information. "As far as we can tell, this is garden variety anthrax which can be treated with penicillin," says Garrett, and asks why the more-expensive Ciprofloxacin is being promoted as the key treatment.

Ciprofloxacin was until recently the only FDA-approved drug for pulmonary anthrax -- though doxycycline and penicillin have just been approved by the government to try to stem the Cipro panic. The choice to use Cipro as a first treatment was made with the assumption that "weaponized anthrax" would almost by definition be designed to be resistant to most antibiotics. Since inhaled anthrax can kill so quickly, experts reasoned that when the first shot at a cure is likely to be the only shot, the drug used should be the one most likely to kill resistant bacteria.

With exposure or infections resulting from bacteria known to be penicillin-susceptible, the rationale behind the use of Cipro fails. And, with a rush on pharmacies and the Internet by the "worried well" for the antibiotic, there is a real danger that bacteria other than anthrax may develop resistance when people use the drug inappropriately. Even worse, Cipro-resistant bacteria tend to be resistant to a whole class of drugs -- so by rushing too soon to the treatment of last resort, its effectiveness can be decreased for much more common serious infections.

"No doctor should be writing Cipro prescriptions for the worried well," says Garrett. "It's irresponsible medicine."

Cohen agrees. He also points out that many of the experts on bioterror-- the government, politicians, the military, the media-- have an agenda. "People have a variety of reasons for promoting biological terrorism as an imminent danger. What's happening now is the result of groundwork to promote this or that program which goes back to the Gulf War. It is almost a type of psychological warfare against your own people-- you get them so scared that they are willing to support anything."

Cohen believes that the best way to fight biological warfare is with a beefed up public health system and with treaties against its use. "It's particularly ironic that just before September 11th, the Bush administration vetoed an extension of the Biological Weapons and Toxins Convention," he says, "which would have allowed inspection and enforcement."

Cohen cites the idea of increasing defensive research as an example of how some efforts to maximize safety could backfire. "The more places that are handling highly toxic material, the more of it there is and the more risk there is of accident or theft. A General Accounting Office report was released in August which said that we have 10,000 tons of chemical and biological weapons which we were supposed to have destroyed and we are ten years behind schedule on eliminating them," he says.

While terrorists would obviously not open their labs to inspection under treaties, the vast majority of them get their materials from legitimate researchers or government stockpiles -- so the rarer the deadly materials are, the less likely they are to be misappropriated.

Some experts argue, however, that fear of bioterror can help promote needed public health funding more generally. Cohen is skeptical of this "dual-use" argument. "The problem is, it totally distorts public health priorities. More money for general surveillance is good but if you spend millions vaccinating people against smallpox, that's money you are spending fighting [a hypothetical risk] when 20,000 people are dying of flu every year."

Cohen points out that neglecting basic public health measures like food inspection, mosquito and rodent control have already had effects. Budgets for mosquito control, for example, were cut several years before the West Nile virus outbreak. Garrett gives another example of failure involving a mosquito-borne disease from which some die by bleeding to death: 'We have a dengue fever outbreak in Hawaii right now and the health department can't diagnose cases in less than two weeks. And that's a simple organism in the middle of an epidemic." Errors in handling the suspect anthrax letters by investigators, lab problems and miscommunication between agencies illustrate how stretched the system is even with a limited number of cases.

"Public health needs to be strengthened under the control of public health people with an independent health structure for surveillance, food and water inspection and a basic reassessment of national health care." says Cohen, adding "We need a national health care system, not a national health scare system."

Maia Szalavitz is the Health Topic Page columnist for Gotham Gazette

###

A RECOVERY PLAN FOR THE WHOLE CITY


The September 11 attack on New York City will have far-reaching consequences for all of us. Both businesses and residents have been affected by the disaster, some directly, some indirectly but no less profoundly. A great deal of attention has, quite properly, been focused on the impact of the attack on businesses and our economy in general, but the needs of New York residents are of equal importance. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, we must develop a coordinated plan to respond to both the short-term and the long-term needs of the city. We need a plan of recovery for all. Specifically:

1. We must respond to the immediate needs of businesses directly affected by the disaster, so that as many as possible are able to remain in New York City. These needs may include identifying temporary and then permanent office space and providing possible assistance with short-term cash flow problems.

2. We must establish a central office to coordinate the needs of residents directly affected by the attack and of all New Yorkers. Those who live near the World Trade Center need information and assistance with health concerns, the security of their buildings, and the availability of services and utilities. Other New Yorkers need information and help dealing with changes in services, such as transportation, and with the economic impact of the attack.

3. We need to develop a long-term plan to revitalize lower Manhattan and to rebuild commercial office space and residential housing in lower Manhattan and throughout all five boroughs of the city.

4. While the attack has had a direct effect on the businesses located in the World Trade Center, it will have perhaps an even more profound effect on entire industries, including the airlines, hotels and restaurants, and the entertainment business. Retail and manufacturing firms would also be affected by a decline in consumer confidence. We need to develop a coordinated plan to address both the short and long-term needs of our economy. This plan should address not only those industries most affected by the attack, but also those that can contribute to the growth of the city's economy.

The public advocate should play a leadership role in all of these efforts. It is the role of the public advocate to insure that the government is meeting the needs of all New Yorkers. The new public advocate should immediately implement a program to receive requests and complaints from New Yorkers about what services they need and to insure that government responds effectively. The public advocate should also take the lead in listening to the long-term concerns of New Yorkers and working with the mayor and the City Council to plan for the future.

In the aftermath of September 11, we will also need to create a process that will effectively enhance safety and security, while preserving the rights of innocent people, which is what makes our society worth defending. I have spoken throughout my campaign for public advocate about my plans to create independent neighborhood councils all over the city. These councils would meet periodically to discuss issues, with the goal of bringing people together. I would encourage those councils to play a lead role in opening the dialogue about how to balance safety concerns and individual rights. I would attract national experts to help in this process, and I would hold town hall meetings, listen to the concerns of New Yorkers throughout the city and work with the mayor, the City Council and local communities to address those concerns wisely and effectively.

Over the past weeks, New Yorkers have worked together with courage, determination and compassion. We must bring that same spirit both to the effort to rebuild and to the other problems that faced our city before September 11 and that still face us today: reducing racial tensions, improving police-community relations, assuring an adequate education for all children, and expanding affordable housing. If we can do that, we can and will have not only recovery, but a better New York for all of us.

Norman Siegel is the former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union and currently a candidate for public advocate. He will face Betsy Gotbaum in a runoff election for the Democratic nomination on Oct. 11

A Rocky Season


(Nov '01) When Michael Bloomberg takes office in January, he will be mayor of more than the city's sagging economy and the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center. He will also be taking the reins of a government that relies on private, nonprofit agencies for the day-to-day care of human beings that the rest of us take for granted. Watching over children while parents work, feeding the elderly at senior centers, clothing and sheltering the homeless. Even when there is no special emergency, much of the city is held together by a brittle web of government contracts and underpaid social workers.

That web has been strained by a double blow from the state budget and the falling towers. First, lawmakers in Albany delayed this year's budget from April until August, when they passed a "bare bones" budget -- lower than last year's and minus funding for crucial needs. In mid-September, they followed up with a supplemental budget restoring less than half the funds that human service agencies counted on to keep their operations going.

Since September 11, ripples of destruction have spread far beyond Ground Zero. Soup kitchens found themselves feeding families of unemployed downtown restaurant workers, and community service centers wrestled with the crippled computer system of the welfare bureaucracy. While millions of dollars flow into charities serving World Trade Center survivors, agencies that serve people with needs unrelated to that disaster face the threat of reduced donations from sympathetic individuals and foundations, and the certainty of cuts from the city's shrunken coffers.

How do small human service agencies cope with large financial uncertainties? In normal times, the City of New York takes an average of 4 months to start payments, from the day a contract is signed with a nonprofit provider. Most providers start work long before they receive payments, borrowing money to stay afloat. However, lenders usually want to see a signed contract as collateral, and contracts are hard to finalize these days, when the city has announced 15 percent budget cuts, and state legislators have not yet decided how to spend "member item" money, seven months into the state's fiscal year.

Instead of the $500 million individual state lawmakers controlled last year, this year they will have only $200 million to distribute. Small programs can be entirely dependent on these unstable funds. "Two hundred million dollars sounds like a lot of money, and make no mistake, we're happy for it," said Megan McLaughlin, executive director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (see "Down and Out"). "But it's basically 211 elected officials battling over what amounts to less than $1 million each."

CHILDREN HIT HARD

Children are particularly hard hit this year. A new five-year limit on welfare benefits, combined with the weak job market, will force more parents into jobs that pay too little to cover unsubsidized day care slots. Advocates recommended an increase of $210 million in state spending for day care this year, to fund slots for 42,000 more children; only $32 million was approved.

State law says that by 2002, there should be enough room in free pre-kindergarten programs for every four-year-old to attend. However, the new state budget provides less than half of the $500 million needed. The state Senate Majority Leader, Republican Joseph Bruno, named the pre-K program as an example of the kind of spending New York cannot afford after September 11.

"We were asked to take in more children, but we just don't have the space," says Bernadette Wallace of Boys and Girls Harbor, which received no increase in funding this year for its three pre-K programs. "If there was to be additional money, we would probably open a new site."

RAINY TODAY

About $3 billion in state funds are being held in reserve "for a rainy day", much of it from savings due to welfare reform. To Michael Kink of Housing Works, the rainy day is today. "It would be wise to spend some of the surplus money on lifeboats," he says, "but Governor Pataki seems more interested in putting aside reserves for his election-year budget."

In addition to reduced state funding, many groups were directly affected by the events of September 11. Offices of some agencies were damaged: many had to delay or relocate services. Housing Works estimates that the disaster and its fallout have cost the agency over $300,000, including the cancellation of its 10th anniversary gala fundraiser.

The Haitian Women's Program hasn't been paid by the state for the last six months. "My accountant told me I couldn't go past October 31," says Gabrielle Kersaint. "We had no money." So the Brooklyn agency started laying people off, including a bilingual family specialist who provided permanency planning services to immigrants with AIDS. Now these parents will no longer have her help in figuring out how to provide for their children when they become too sick to do so themselves.

Legal Services of New York City is facing the possible loss of up to $3 million, nearly ten percent of their total budget. According to Communications Director Edwina Frances Martin, this jeopardizes their domestic violence program, whose lawyers represent survivors in court, in child custody cases, and in securing the benefits needed to become independent of abusive partners. Another program at risk helps welfare recipients to stay in school when their education is threatened by the demands of the city's Work Experience Program.

Brooklyn Legal Services laid off half of their lawyers in early November, and the Citywide Task Force on Housing is planning to close down in December, laying off their entire staff. Lawyers at the Task Force and Legal Services protect tenants from homelessness by fighting illegal evictions.

ELDERLY TOO

Worthwhile new programs may not be funded for a second year. The Park Slope Geriatric Day Center's program for Spanish-speaking elders depends on state funding that is still in question. "The state is finally recognizing a need and then -- boom," says Marianne Nicolosi of Park Slope Geriatric. The program's loss would deprive clients with Alzheimer's disease and severe physical conditions of the chance to take part in individual and group activities that give them physical, mental and social rewards.

The city was about to hire social workers to provide mental health services at senior centers, reaching elderly clients who would otherwise be reluctant to admit a need for it. "We fought for that money for four years," says Bobbi Sackman of the Council of Senior Centers, noting that as a new program, this item is particularly vulnerable to the planned city budget cuts.

AFTER 9/11

The World Trade Center tragedy intensified the need for many agencies' services, while placing new barriers in their path. "We're feeling the crunch of more people needing food," says Rita Marie Trucois, director of social services at Riverside Church, which has extended its food pantry's hours in response to a 30 percent increase in families seeking help. Citymeals-on-Wheels is finding it harder to deliver meals to homebound older people in downtown Manhattan. "Our mission remains the same," notes its director of program services, Andrea Kopel, even though it now costs more to deliver the same level of service.

"In light of the September 11 attack, we have become more lenient," reports Shawniqua Ottley of the Fund for the City of New York, a major source of the bridge loans that sustain struggling nonprofits. "A lot of agencies are on the brink." Applicants for the Fund's loans are experiencing unusually long delays in processing contracts, particularly with city agencies displaced by the World Trade Center disaster.

Instead of requiring that an agency have a signed contract in hand, the Fund is now granting loans as long as it can verify that a contract is on the way to being signed. Borrowers are being given six months to pay back loans, twice as long as usual. Applications for loans have increased from about three a week to fifteen or twenty, according to Ottley. The Fund has had to draw on the Ford Foundation and the September 11 funds for an emergency injection of cash to meet increased demand.

Patrick Markee of the Coalition for the Homeless expects a time lag before we see the full impact of the sagging economy and the attacks on the World Trade Center. "The bigger question is, what's going to happen in the future with the city and state budgets?" Both the governor and the new mayor are facing large budget gaps in the next few years. Neither leader seems eager to raise taxes, even though higher unemployment will swell the need for social services. The Fall of 2001 may prove to be a dress rehearsal for uncertainty on a whole new scale.


Sites For Beginners:

  • Social Services Hotline for New York City Agencies and Services - Who to contact if you have no food, if your gas is about to be cut off or if you need information on HIV or AIDS; how to find an emergency shelter; what a battered woman can do--and more.
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence - Setting up a Safety Plan and Crisis Hotlines; Workplace Guidelines; Legal Guidelines; Public Policy which includes articles on Predictors of Domestic Violence and Barriers to Leaving a Violent Partner.
  • New York City Department for the Aging - Good resource for finding senior centers in your neighborhood. Where to turn for help with Legal Assistance, the Home Energy Assistance Program and Elderly Crime Victim Resources. Bilingual help in Spanish is available.
  • Center for Mental Health Services - Good resource for finding information on dual diagnosis problems of mental illness and substance abuse; Emergency Services; Children's Campaign; Mental Health Statistics. All information also available in Spanish.
  • Coalition of Voluntary Mental Health Agencies - Contains a neighborhood agency locator to find what services are available in your neighborhood; policy information and newsletters.

Other Recommendations:

  • Resources for Social Workers - NYU's social work library: key in any topic of interest and you are presented with a comprehensive listing of articles from government, not-for-profit groups and professional journals.
  • National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information - Extraordinary site, filled with alcohol and drug treatment information. Data archives include international articles on educational, political and social research on this topic. Go here for a primer on including persons with disabilities in a prevention or intervention program.
  • National Association of Social Workers, NYC Chapter - Social workers reporting on every issue: welfare reform, HIV/AIDS, addiction, mental health, families & children and health care
  • New York city Lesbian & Gay Community Center - Youth Enrichment Services, Gender Identity Project, AIDS Bereavement, Mediation Service, in addition to being cultural, political, educational and recreational mecca.
  • Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center - 312 East 94th Street, NY, NY 10128 (212) 423-3000 Confidential services for teens (ages 12-21) that do not require parental consent, including medical services, condom distribution, AIDS prevention & treatment, and counseling.

Archiving September 11


When Martin Scorsese wanted to recreate the city's 19th century tenements, bordellos, and saloons for his upcoming movie "The Gangs of New York," he sent his film producers to visit the archives of a neighborhood called Five Points. The collection contained over 850,000 items from the infamous slum -- dishes, thimbles, combs, medicine bottles, and children's toys -- that documented the history of working-class life in lower Manhattan.

A little over a year after the visit, the entire collection, except for 18 items that were on loan, was destroyed when debris smashed into the World Trade Center 6 building.

A few weeks after September 11, archaeologists sent a team of people into the partially collapsed building to try to recover the archives, but there was nothing to retrieve. Like nearly everything in the World Trade Center buildings, the historic items were buried in rubble and lost forever.

"There were hundreds of offices in the World Trade Center that lost all of their records and documents," said Kathleen Roe of the New York State Archives in Albany. "Some of those were originals items that had no duplicate and can not be replaced."

Photographer Jacques Lowe, who intimately documented the life of President John F. Kennedy and his family, lost the negatives to 40,000 photographs that he had stored in a bank vault in the Trade Center. Helen Keller Worldwide, a nonprofit agency dedicated to eradicating preventable blindness, lost letters gathered during Keller's travels between 1930-1950 as well as several first editions of her works. And thirty years of photographs and musical scores from Broadway and Off-Broadway plays -- items like photos of the original cast of "A Chorus Line" and "Miss Saigon" -- were destroyed.

In the weeks after September 11, a coalition of New York historians and archivists met to assess the damage to the dozens of archival collections in lower Manhattan. To their surprise they found that although nearly everything in the World Trade Center was lost, many collections in the surrounding area -- like the American Express records, Trinity Church, the Federal Reserve, and the Stock Exchange -- were not damaged.

HOW TO ARCHIVE 9/11
Links on from the New York State Archives

Documenting the World Trade Center Tragedy
Information about some of the efforts underway to ensure that the records and stories surrounding the tragedy survive for the future.

Status of Repositories in the Affected Area
Alphabetical list of historical records holders located below 14th Street, with information about staff, records, and facilities.

Federal Agencies
Alphabetical list of federal agencies whose staff or records have been affected by the disaster.

State Agencies
Alphabetical list of New York State agencies whose staff or records have been affected by the disaster.

Local Governments
Alphabetical lists of New York City agencies and other local governments affected by the disaster.

Information for Businesses
Resources for corporations and small businesses trying to recover records and data essential to their current operations.

Technical Assistance
Information about salvaging and preserving affected records.

Financial Assistance
Information about sources of funding for disaster recovery.

Volunteering to Help
Information for those interested in volunteering their time and expertise or offering temporary records storage space.

The group then turned to the new collection accumulating right before their eyes -- the photographs, memorial candles, missing person posters, makeshift shrines in front of every firehouse, emails, and phone messages -- that make up the spontaneous archive of the events of September 11.

"We are rarely in the midst of the event we are trying to document and archive," said Roe. "The result is that we have an almost incomprehensible amount of information with no way to organize or sort it out."

Some groups have tried to provide centralized places for information.

The Library of Congress commissioned the September 11 archive project, an online database of over 3,000 web sites. An organization called Television Archives has collected video coverage from around the world. And Columbia University recently received a grant to record the oral stories of more than 300 New Yorkers.

Locally, nearly every kind of group or organization with a specific interest is collecting stories, mementos, and information to help understand how people were affected and responded.

The New York Fire Museum is collecting images and stories about the rescue efforts and the memorials to those lost. The South Street Seaport Museum is gathering information about how boat operators responded. And the New York Center for Urban Folklore Culture is searching for photographs of the individual shrines that sprung up around the city. And the list goes on.

There are debates about how all of the information should be organized, whether too much money is going to online projects, which institutions or government agencies should oversee the projects, and how to keep the process from being overwhelmed with bureaucracy.

"Some people have a grand vision of one place where someone can find any piece of information, but the best solution may be getting different institutions to cooperate with each other," said Richard Wandel of the Archivists Round Table of New York.

Historians also fear there some stories may be overlooked or lost. They are eager to record the accounts of mental health workers, the stories of the Arab community in New York City, and anything that can help the city learn to respond to catastrophes. To help in the effort, the New York State Archivists are awarding grants of up to $50,000 and offering professional archival assistance to groups.

"We need to continually look for what stories need to be told, how best to tell them, and which stories are being overlooked," said Roe.

Maps for Rebuilding


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Nine Plans For Ground Zero from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation New Rules For Designing Ground Zero 9/11 World Trade Center Victims By ZIP Code (Click on the image) The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's First Six Plans
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Maps of the Recovery (Click on the image) Maps of Downtown Now (Click on the image) Maps For Envisioning The Future (Click on the image)

Gotham Gazette has gathered a diverse collection of maps of the World Trade Center site-during recovery efforts, of the site now, and plans for the area's future. Look out for new additions to this site as planning continues.

Within a few days of the Sept. 11 attacks, a technology team began photographing the disaster area from above with special cameras. They used thermal images to map the location of "hot spots" where fires still burned, hidden in the rubble. These maps helped rescue workers and firefighters navigate the area.

A wide array of mapping technologies have been used ever since, as efforts moved from searching through the debris to plotting how a memorial will best fit into a rebuilt site.

In the weeks after the disaster, officials used three-dimensional maps to determine the volume of debris in the area that would need to be taken away. These maps were ready before the smoke had cleared, because planes flew over the site and gathered information using a radar-like technology. Hunter College researchers, directed by geography professor Sean Ahearn, analyzed the data and created many maps that the city used to monitor changes at Ground Zero. Many of these maps were later displayed in a Soho gallery exhibition, and are now part of a travelling show.

Now, architects and designers are using maps to envision lower Manhattan's future. The New York New Visions coalition, a pro-bono group of architects and planners, used a computer rendering program to develop 38 different maps of what the World Trade Center site may become, depending on how much space is devoted to a memorial. The coalition and several other civic groups have also developed maps that clarify different proposals for the Lower Manhattan, such as burying West Street or creating a transportation hub.

How Long Before We Act On "Lessons Learned?"



RELATED ARTICLE
Twelve Ways to Improve the FDNY
Retired deputy fire chief Vincent Dunn details 12 ways he believes firefighters could do their job more safely and effectively.

During this past year, I have been searching for answers about why there were so few options for those innocent people trapped in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. My husband, Rich, worked for Aon Corporation at 2 World Trade on the 103rd floor. I was told that he was last seen waiting for an elevator on the 78th floor Sky Lobby. Injured when the second plane's wing tip crashed through that floor and the walls fell in, he was still alive waiting to be rescued when the buildings collapsed.

We must address the critical issues relating to the emergency response to the September 11th terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. I am deeply concerned about the information that has come to light in the past year regarding the fire department1s inoperable radios, lack of coordination with the police department and other emergency agencies, and unfamiliarity with the World Trade Center.

It is apparent to me that the input of fire experts must play a more important role in the development, design and construction of buildings. The fire service should no longer be left on the sidelines to come into the game only after the buildings are up, left to figure out how best to defend and evacuate them in an emergency. The fire service needs to have a voice in how to equip a building so that they can put out fires and rescue people more quickly, lowering the potential for loss of life, both uniform and civilian.

We can never again allow a building to be built that is immune from building and fire codes, as the World Trade Center was. The fire department had no authority over those buildings, and could not force the Port Authority to comply with their recommendations. If the Port Authority does not begin following building and fire codes, they should leave the real estate business.

Regarding coordination between the police and fire departments, the continuous turf wars must cease. The various agencies charged with the safety of the public need to learn to work together. The lives and safety of our loved ones are at stake. The agencies must realize that the first and foremost responsibility is the safety of the public, put aside the competitive nature that has been in place for many, many years, and start anew.

I was also deeply disturbed to find that there was no helicopter rescue available to those trapped on the upper floors of the towers. When was the decision made to no longer attempt rooftop rescues, and who told the occupants of those towers about it? It has been written that many occupants of the World Trade Center were believed that in case of an emergency or devastating fire, that they could be rescued from the roof. Instead, many found that the doors were locked leading to their eventual doom.

It is clear to me that there has to be a very concerted effort made to take a hard look at what happened on September 11th. We need to take a good look around this great city of ours. We need to be aware of potential dangers. We need to find ways to work together to ensure that if there is ever another devastating event, we will be aware of what needs to be done and can communicate those instructions and dangers to others.

I keep hearing about "lessons learned." But over a year later, some of the simple issues have not yet been addressed or changed. How many reports or meetings will it take to make use of these lessons?

Monica Gabrielle is co-chairperson of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Signs Bill Naming 81 Streets After Heroes Of 9/11


Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws

"The bill before me today, Introductory Number 252-A, will rename various public thoroughfares and public places throughout the City after eighty-one firefighters, police officers and civilians who died on September 11, 2001. The bill was voted out of the City Council unanimously and many of the members are here with me today."

"While no actions that we may take can ever adequately convey the appreciation that the entire City has for these heroes, erecting these signs throughout the five boroughs will at least express the City's desire to permanently remember their sacrifices and to rebuild our City in their memory. Without the courage and sacrifice of those firefighters, police officers and civilians who bravely gave their lives to rescue others, many more lives would certainly have been lost. Our actions today will show the world that our City and its people will never forget those who were lost on that terrible day."

Bronx

  • Firefighters Boulevard, Bronx
  • Deputy Chief Orio J. Palmer Way, Bronx
  • Firefighter Angel Luis Juarbe, Jr. Avenue, Bronx

Brooklyn

  • Firefighter Gregory Saucedo Triangle, Brooklyn
  • Jimmy Quinn Way, Brooklyn
  • P.O. Moira Smith Way, Brooklyn
  • Firefighter Jimmy Riches Way, Brooklyn
  • Benjamin Keefe Clark Way, Brooklyn
  • Firefighter Daniel T. Suhr Place, Brooklyn
  • Firefighter Joseph Patrick Henry Lane, Brooklyn
  • Captain Vincent E. Brunton Way, Brooklyn

Manhattan

  • Firefighter Manuel Del Valle, Jr. Street, Manhattan
  • Detective Claude "Danny" Richards Way, Manhattan

Queens

  • Lt. Steven J. Bates Street, Queens
  • Lt. Michael P. Warchola Way, Queens
  • Lt. Kevin Pfeifer Place, Queens
  • Lt. Kenneth J. Phelan Way, Queens
  • Firefighter Vincent S. Morello Street, Queens
  • Michael D. Mullan Way, Queens
  • AnnMarie Riccoboni Way, Queens
  • Lawrence Virgilio Street, Queens
  • Firefighter John Heffernan Street, Queens
  • Firefighter Scott A. Larsen Boulevard, Queens
  • Capt. Patrick Waters Road, Queens
  • Firefighter John J. Florio Place, Queens
  • Firefighter Sergio Gabriel Villanueva Way, Queens
  • Calvin Gooding, Jr. Place, Queens
  • Firefighter William Henry Avenue, Queens
  • Firefighter Michael Weinberg Way, Queens
  • William M. Feehan Triangle, Queens
  • Captain James J. Corrigan Way, Queens
  • Michael A. Marti Street, Queens
  • E.M.T. David Marc Sullins Place, Queens

Staten Island

  • Martin J. Egan, Jr. Corner, Staten Island
  • Jason DeFazio Way, Staten Island
  • Firefighter Salvatore Calabro Place, Staten Island
  • Donald DiFranco, Staten Island
  • Debra Ann DiMarino Way, Staten Island
  • Joseph Di Pilato Place, Staten Island
  • Steven M. Hagis Way, Staten Island
  • Michele B. Lanza Way, Staten Island
  • Lorraine Lee Way, Staten Island
  • Michael Massaroli Way, Staten Island
  • Charles A. Mauro, Jr. Place, Staten Island
  • Lt. Paul T. Mitchell Place, Staten Island
  • Salvatore T. Papasso Way, Staten Island
  • Cira Marie Patti Way, Staten Island
  • Mark Petrocelli Way, Staten Island
  • Joseph Plumitallo Way, Staten Island
  • Patricia Puma Way, Staten Island
  • Peter Raimondi Way, Staten Island
  • Joseph Reina, Jr. Way, Staten Island
  • Adele Sessa Way, Staten Island
  • Michael Stabile Way, Staten Island
  • Firefighter John P. Tierney Place, Staten Island
  • Joseph G. Visciano Place, Staten Island
  • Frank Thomas "F.T." Aquilino Way, Staten Island
  • Adam P. Arias Way, Staten Island
  • Louis F. Aversano, Jr. Way, Staten Island
  • Michael E. Beekman Way, Staten Island
  • Firefighter Greg J. Buck Place, Staten Island
  • Milton Gilberto Bustillo Way, Staten Island
  • Monica Goldstein Way, Staten Island
  • Vincent Laieta Jr., Way, Staten Island
  • Jeannine LaVerde Way, Staten Island
  • Stephanie McKenna Way, Staten Island
  • Richard Miuccio Way, Staten Island
  • Lt. Philip S. Petti Place, Staten Island
  • Shawn E. Bowman, Jr. Way, Staten Island
  • Firefighter Thomas P. Hannafin Place, Staten Island
  • Robert J. Shay, Jr. Way, Staten Island
  • Firefighter Michael Cammarata Place, Staten Island
  • Lt. Joseph Gullickson Way, Staten Island
  • Carl A. DeFranco Avenue, Staten Island
  • Brian Nunez Way, Staten Island
  • Anne Marie Martino-Cramer Way, Staten Island
  • Kristen L. Montanaro Way, Staten Island
  • Firefighter Lenny Ragaglia Way, Staten Island
  • Lt. Chuck Margiotta Way, Staten Island
  • Lt. Michael T. Quilty Way, Staten Island
  • Assistant Chief Gerard A. Barbara Way, Staten Island

New Rules For Designing Ground Zero


The design teams chosen to create new plans for the World Trade Center site met for the first time on Friday, October 11 in the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation offices for a day-long briefing. Rebuilding officials gave the architects and designers a new list of requirements and elements to be included in the plans. "Today we tried to clarify what their mission is," said development corporation board member Roland Betts. "We want to go way beyond where we went before."

The teams will spend eight weeks designing plans for Ground Zero. While they will work to find an appropriate place for a memorial, they will not design the memorial itself. "It is an extraordinary, challenging project," said English architect Lord Norman Foster, choked up after visiting the development corporation's room for family members of 9/11 victims. "I think in one sense, the whole thing is a memorial."

The new design rules require a "grand and visible" transit station at Fulton and Greenwich Streets, a promenade over a buried West Street and between 6.5 and 10 million square feet of office space.

From the Ground Up: Five Ways to Help Small Businesses Still Struggling After 9/11


 

sm.goodman
Ariel Goodman

Before September 11, 2001, I owned four small businesses located on the 87th floor of One World Trade Center. I worked in financial services, trading and creating mutual funds. Now, I spend much of my time re-creating the reams of lost records destroyed in the attack, applying for grants, and advocating for other downtown business owners as president of From the Ground Up, a grassroots support group for lower Manhattan small business owners.

My businesses were totally destroyed when Tower One fell. Today, only two of them are operating. I need at least $350,000 to restart my businesses and rebuild them to what they were before September 11. To date, I have only received $30,000 from the Economic Development Corporation. This is just a drop in the bucket compared to my losses. I have not yet received any of the proceeds from my insurance policy. Because I also lost my home 500 feet from the World Trade Center, I had no property to put up as collateral and was turned down for a Small Business Association loan.

Frustrated with my search for aid, I co-founded the advocacy group From the Ground Up for small business owners who were affected by September 11, 2001. The group, which now has about 400 members, works to reform and improve 9/11 aid programs. We successfully lobbied for federal programs to include businesses with fewer than 10 employees.

More than a year after the towers fell, lower Manhattan small business owners are running out of time and options. The programs created to aid small business victims of September 11 need to be changed. They exhaust people with ever-changing rules and offer awards that are too small considering the efforts involved. No program to date addresses our special needs.

The following five suggestions would be an important start:

1. World Trade Center tenants must be adequately compensated for their losses. There is a world of difference between businesses like mine, that lost everything, and ones two blocks away that still have an infrastructure and records. Right now, this disparity is not addressed in any program. The World Trade Center Business Recovery Grant Program should be changed to increase the grants given to World Trade Center tenants, or else should create a new program to give small business tenants flat grants of $150,000 each.

2. The grant program to keep and bring small businesses downtown also must be changed. The program, called the Small Business Attraction and Retention Program needs to include all lower Manhattan small businesses that existed on September 11 that are willing to reaffirm their current leases. Right now, the program only includes companies with leases that expire within the next two years. In this area, most leases last 10 years. The present program rules just do not work. As of the end of August, only 8 percent of the hundreds of millions of dollars in this program had been allocated or distributed. By making this simple change, we can get funds to the businesses that need them right now.

3. Grant programs should loosen their requirements for documents. Like all small businesses that were located in the World Trade Center, all of my documents and records were destroyed. Nonetheless, I must produce the same type of proof as a business on Wall Street that was intact on September 12. Recreating documents has become a full time occupation for all of us who were tenants in the World Trade Center -- and every time I turn in a completed application for one of these assistance programs, I am told that I am missing yet another document. Instead of spending my time re-starting my businesses, I am collecting documents for financial assistance programs. In fact, I was unable to apply for a grant from the World Trade Center Business Recovery Grant Program until this month, simply because I did not have the required documents. Putting procedure before substance like this is absurd, and must be rectified.

4. Lower Manhattan small businesses need an ombudsman program to help them deal with difficult aid programs. Those of us "in the trenches" with these programs have found that the rules are obscure, confusing and inconsistently applied. Members of From the Ground Up are often denied assistance based on rules or criteria that do not appear on any application or program guidelines. As a result, many of us are falling through the cracks of the very programs that are intended to help us get back on our feet. An ombudsman who has the authority to work with the various program administrators to coordinate and facilitate delivery of program benefits would be a tremendous help to lower Manhattan small businesses. The foundation I and other members of From the Ground Up created has already developed a proposal for an ombudsman program.

5. Finally, the grants lower Manhattan small businesses so desperately need should not be taxable on the federal, state or local level. By making these grants taxable, the government is giving with one hand, and snatching back with the other. If the grants are truly intended to compensate lower Manhattan small businesses for their 9/11 losses and help get them back on their feet as productive, tax-paying members of the community, they should be tax-free.

Ariel Goodman is president of From the Ground Up, a 9/11 small business advocacy group.

New York City Memorials


3

The Slocum fountain in Tompkins Square Park.

The worst disaster in New York City’s history before last year’s attacks was the 1904 fire aboard the excursion steamer General Slocum. The ship was taking the congregation of St. Mark’s German Lutheran Church for a trip up the East River when it caught aflame. The blaze killed at least 1021 people. Their memorial is a small pink marble fountain in the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park, inscribed, "they were the Earth’s purest children, young and fair."

In contrast, a massive monument to the 258 American sailors who died when the battleship Maine exploded during the Spanish American War rises imposingly at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park. Atop the tall monument, commissioned by public donations to William Randolph Hearst’s New York Morning Journal, three seahorses pull a woman in a seashell chariot. The figures are cast in bronze from the sunken ship’s guns.

In creating these memorials and others throughout the city, New Yorkers grappled with how to commemorate heroes or tragic events, and often came to very different conclusions. The current talks about how to memorialize the World Trade Center attacks are "not a new discussion at all," said Robin Lynn, director of tours for the Municipal Art Society. "Every memorial in the city had to start by asking the question, ‘what is appropriate?’".

Lynn has planned a series of two hour walks surveying some of the over 2,000 statues and monuments in New York City's public places. They include a stop at the showy Maine Monument, but not the humble Slocum Fountain. Lynn said that she decided to create the tours because New Yorkers’ preoccupation with a memorial for the World Trade Center seems to be "in the air."

"This is something that is on people’s minds," added architectural historian Francis Morrone, who will be leading several of the tours (see the society's web site for a schedule). "I think just about everybody wants to make sure that we do this right." He said that the walks will be a way for people to see a wide range of city memorials and decide for themselves whether or not they are relevant to the city’s newest addition.

Rebuilding Downtown and Olympics 2012: Will Two Big Projects Be Too Much?


Roland Betts, the official at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation with perhaps the highest profile-he is the owner of Chelsea Piers and a college buddy of President George Bush - also had a huge hand in the city being selected as the U.S. bid for the 2012 Olympics. He is on the ten-member U.S. Olympic Committee task force that recently chose New York over San Francisco.

But Betts is not the only person who is involved both in rebuilding lower Manhattan and in the push to make New York Olympic City 2012. Some are worried that these two big projects will compete for attention, time and money from developers, city officials, and planners, and that rebuilding efforts may come up short. Can the city really handle two such large public works projects at once?

Time and Money
New York is the U.S. pick for the games but will still need to compete with as many as 12 other international cities when the International Olympic Committee makes its decision in 2005. Should New York be chosen, the city's plan proposes creating an Olympic Village with 4,400 high-rise apartments in Long Island City, extending the No. 7 train all the way west in Manhattan, and building a new stadium on the West Side. It also joins two lakes in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to create a rowing and canoeing course and builds a new waterfront park in Williamsburg.

City officials and Olympics backers have repeatedly claimed that these projects will not siphon funds from downtown. "They don't compete against each other," said Laz Benitez, a spokesperson for NYC2012, the Olympics bid organization. "Our plan is based on private moneys." Much of the money would come from merchandising and licensing, TV rights and ticket sales, said Benitez. Olympics financing will not draw from the city's budget or federal funds for rebuilding.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that plans to develop the city's West Side--including building a new stadium and extending the No. 7 subway line--will go ahead regardless of which city is chosen for 2012. This means that some construction is scheduled to begin before the city even knows whether or not it will indeed host the games, and work on transportation in lower Manhattan may coincide with extending the No. 7 train.

What the Olympics Will Do
New York magazine said earlier this year is sprinkle "fairy dust on projects that armchair urbanists have lusted after for years," including connecting the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro North commuter lines, expanding the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center expansion, and creating new housing.

"It's completely consistent with the direction in which the city should proceed, on the scale of Robert Moses," Donald Elliott, a city-planning-commission chairman under Mayor John Lindsay, has said. And Bloomberg said the city hopes "to use the Olympics to build for the decades to follow the closing ceremonies."

Some question, though, whether New York can handle the crush of financing and building all these projects between now and the games' opening ceremonies.

Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff has said that transportation improvements in lower Manhattan are likely to be finished far ahead of the No. 7's estimated completion in 2010. But the extension of the 7 train is slated to begin in late 2004 or early 2005, so that construction will be underway before the International Olympic Committee meets in July 2005 to determine which city will host the 2012 games.

Doctoroff and others say that Olympic plans will help keep lower Manhattan rebuilding projects on schedule. "The Olympics actually act as a catalyst for development, it sets a deadline," said Benitez, from NYC2012.

Double-Duty Officials
But while the two projects may not be competing for the same funding, they are vying for attention from a number of officials, planners and business people who are involved in both efforts.

Five board members of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation--including New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard Grasso and Verizon president Paul Crotty -- also sit on the board of the Olympics bid.

Board member Roland Betts's involvement goes even further. He is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee task force that decided to give New York, not San Francisco, the nomination for 2012.

Critics suggested that Betts should step down from the 10-person panel, saying that he would benefit if the Olympics are held in New York and even suggesting that he had a grudge against San Francisco. Last year, San Francisco officials rejected Betts' bid to build a Chelsea-Piers-like sports center in the Bay Area. While the New York Olympic bid doesn't make Chelsea Piers a location for sports events, some suggest that the piers are just a few blocks south of the proposed Olympic stadium and would be sure to benefit from the new West Side development. Despite these claims, the U.S. Olympics ethics oversight committee decided that Betts could be impartial and should stay on the panel. "I have bent over backwards to be fair and objective," Betts told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The founder of the city's Olympic plan, Dan Doctoroff, stepped down to join the Bloomberg administration, and now oversees both rebuilding efforts and the city's Olympic bid as deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding. Top rebuilding official Alexander Garvin designed the Olympic plan, but is no longer officially involved.

Civic groups say that officials and planners should put rebuilding downtown before plans for a two-week event, even if it is one of the world's biggest. "We need the city to focus time on developing economic strategies for lower Manhattan and we really need Dan Doctoroff's full attention at the moment," said Beverly Willis, founder of Rebuild Downtown Our Town. "We desperately need a real push right now in lower Manhattan."

Ask Roland Betts about the Olympics plan and other questions about rebuilding lower Manhattan on Friday, November 22 between 1:30 and 2:30 PM in a live chat on Gotham Gazette.



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