Nadler Presses City Hall to Release Documents from 2001 about Awareness of Ground Zero Health Risks
Above: September 11, 2001, around 3:30pm. Photograph by Robert Simko. Below: Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at the recent 20th anniversary of the Tunnel to Towers Run, in Battery Park City (shown with country music star Darryl Worley, who performed at the event).
United States Congressman Jerry Nadler is calling upon the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to make public previously unreleased City documents, which may shed light on what Rudolph Giuliani, who was Mayor at the time of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, knew about environmental health risks in weeks and months following of the destruction of the World Trade Center.
In a September 20 letter to City Hall, Mr. Nadler and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney write that, “we have yet to see a full accounting of what then-Mayor Giuliani and his administration knew at the time.” They argue that such an accounting would, “help provide injured and ill 9/11 responders, survivors, and their families a better understanding of what the City knew at the time about the likely scope of the health crisis and when they knew it.”
They continue, “While previous reports have hinted at what the Giuliani administration knew about the health risks, it is time for a complete accounting of this history. If it is true that they knew that thousands of responders and community members would face tremendous long-term health impacts, the administration unnecessarily delayed the effort to provide health care to the thousands of responders and survivors exposed in the aftermath on the pile and in schools, offices, and homes around the area.”
The members of Congress add, “we urge you to have the City of New York review its files and, in the interest of transparency, fully release any information it has on what the City knew about the hazards faced by 9/11 responders and survivors who lived, worked, and went to school in the covered disaster zone.
They conclude, “we ask that the City release any documents related to 9/11 that are in its files or emails from the period of September 11, 2001 through the spring of 2002. While some documents may have been disclosed in past litigation, we do not believe this represents the entirety of the City’s files and demand a complete release.”
Although Mr. Giuliani said little in public about the dangers posed by environmental toxins at Ground Zero during the three months that remained in his tenure after September 11, 2001, one indication of his frame of mind might be gleaned from an action he took in November. The Mayor urged members of New York’s Congressional delegation to help pass the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which specifically capped, “the liability for all claims against the City of New York as a result of such attacks to no more than the City’s insurance coverage or $350 million.”
In the years since 2001, thousands of people (both first responders and survivors who lived or worked nearby) have died of September 11-related illnesses, far surpassing the death toll exacted by the terrorist attacks themselves.
To the Editor,
Thanks to both Richard Joffe and Nick Sbordone for their enlightening exchange in Friday’s BroadsheetDAILY about lawns.
I hope readers took a moment to enter the Ambassadors’ phone number (212-945-7233) into their cell phones. I have called many times and received helpful followup depending on the situation.
Further, thanks for the dog behavior information, or I should say, OWNER behavior information. Owners walk dogs right up to trees to relieve themselves, allow dogs to urinate and create brown circles on lawns, ignore their dogs while they are on cell phones and when their dogs scamper away, the owner doesn’t even look to see and remove what their pets are leaving behind. I understand that many residents grew up in more suburban or rural surroundings where dogs were much more spread out. Here, the concentration is more intense, and the damage of multiple pets relieving themselves on the same plants is destructive.
Maybe, BPCDogs at www.bpcdogs.org/ could add guidance for out-of-towners who want to be responsible pet-parents here in the Big City.
Editor’s note: The letters from Mr. Joffe and Mr. Sbordone are republished below.
To the Editor:
The Rector Park Lawn has suffered shameful abuse and neglect. I have lived on Rector Place for 28 years. Until recently, the Park lawn has always been a plush carpet on which residents could picnic, sunbathe or play with infants. Now, that carpet is in tatters, with large patches of bare dirt, and, when it rains, mud. I am attaching pictures of the lawn that I took in previous years, and pictures of the lawn that I took today, September 27, 2021.
This past Spring, Community Board 1 forwarded my complaint about treatment of the Park to the BPCA, and on May 4 (i.e. five months ago), the Board forwarded to me a response from the BPCA. The BPCA stated that “a curb valve that supplies water to the area” needs replacing, that BPCA was “continuing to water the space,” but that it was “not as easy as it would be with a water source nearby,” and that BPCA was “keen to get this addressed ASAP.”
In addition to BPCA’s apparent failure to fix the watering problem, there is a second reason for the destruction of the lawn. Ball playing has always been prohibited on this tiny square of grass, but in the last few years there has been a significant increase in people playing sports on the lawn with baseballs, footballs and soccer balls. People, some of whom may not even live on Rector Place, do this despite the fact that, just a three minute walk away, at the east end of Rector Place, there is a large playground with astroturf provided specifically for the purpose of sports. In their note forwarded to me by Community Board 1, the BPCA told me that their Ambassadors “regularly monitor the area,” but I have never seen any Ambassador pay any attention to the ball playing on the park, or, indeed, to anything else about the park, except when I called them to complain about grown men having wooden sword fights on the tiny park. Moreover, just recently, the sign that always has been posted at each corner of the park stating that ball playing is prohibited has been removed, and replaced by a sign that applies generically to all of Battery Park City, and makes only a vague request that visitors treat the landscape respectfully.
The picture that I have here attached shows the result of the BPCA’s attitude.
To the Editor:
Battery Park City’s parks are second-to-none. In speaking with people all across this neighborhood, what continues to resonate is their love of its parks and public spaces – and with it a deep appreciation of the work our staff does in keeping them the most beautiful in New York City. This became even more pronounced during the pandemic, when our parks served as respite for escaping – if only for a few moments – the rigors of the day.
That’s why we opened our parks lawns early during the pandemic, and kept them open late. Usually accessible from mid-April to mid-November, our lawns opened up as the shutdowns began in mid-March 2020, and stayed open through December. And two of our most popular lawns, at Wagner and Rockefeller Parks, stayed open to the public year-round. This isn’t without impact – with less time to heal from months of heavy use, the lawns may not appear as plush this year. But in consultation with the community we determined this tradeoff was well worth the benefit.
Rector Park is no exception. The reduced lawn closure time was exacerbated by an extended, COVID-related delay in issuance of an NYC permit for repair of a valve supplying water to the area. Without the park’s regular irrigation system our staff nonetheless lovingly kept Rector Park – lawns, trees, and flowers all! – manually watered throughout. And what a job they did; here are two pictures taken there on September 29, 2021 to more fully illustrate the park’s appearance. Yes, it will still take some time for the lawn to heal completely, but that valve is now repaired, the irrigation system up and running, and the lawn regularly attended to. BPCA is on it!
Here’s how you can help keep BPC beautiful:
Rector Park is for passive recreation only, and our BPC Ambassadors regularly monitor the area on their 24×7 rounds of the neighborhood. If you witness active recreation please contact them anytime at (212) 945-7233, by email (email@example.com), or in-person at the 200 Rector Place Command Center. They’ll use their judgment – many families with small children play games on the lawn, of course, and all are welcome there – to ensure the activity is appropriate to the area.
Four-legged friends are welcome too! But only on a leash and on the park’s hard surfaces, please. You can download our Dog Brochure to brush up on the rules and help spread the word.
Thank you for your love of Battery Parks City’s parks. We feel the same way.
Battery Park City Authority
EYES TO THE SKY
October 4 – 17, 2021
Protect Earth’s night, essential to life on Earth
FOOD FLIGHT — Nocturnal pollinators like this moth in the Eupithecia family were long thought to have little food crop value. But a three-year study on apple trees at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Experiment Station shows nocturnal pollinators do just as much pollinating as non-native honeybees during daylight hours. Apples were chosen because they are one of the top three food crops in the United States. Photo courtesy of Dr. Stephen Robertson, all rights reserved.
“For millions of years, there has been a night shift at work pollinating flowering plants and fruit trees.
“If you look at the diversity and the sheer numbers of moths out there, the other pollinators pale in comparison. So, you’re talking about a massive group of animals that probably contribute not just to fruit crops or crops in general … but to pollination overall, they may just be the most important pollinators as a group… The unsung heroes of pollination.”
Excerpts from Into the Night: Shedding Light on Nocturnal Pollinators
Darkness at night is under siege by an excess of poorly conceived and carelessly deployed artificial light, resulting in a sky polluted with a veil of wasted light and our neighborhoods with no oasis of darkness. Light pollution threatens pollination of our food crops and wild landscapes, bird migration, night vision, human health and our view of the universe.
Doing away with darkness has long been a societal mission and has become a destructive habit. According to the International Dark Sky Association, “Light pollution is increasing at 2x rate of population growth and 83% of the global population lives under a light-polluted sky.”
Municipalities need to enact environmentally friendly artificial light policy; businesses need to turn off wasteful lights at night; individuals need to close the shades of their homes, especially during bird migration season. Everyone contributes to the problem and, more importantly, we are all part of the solution.
New York is on the Atlantic Flyway, an avian highway in the sky. Millions of birds pass over New York City during spring and fall migration, and as many as 100,000 collide with buildings and die, each season.
Over the next few nights, Cornell Lab of Ornithology is predicting heavy migration through New York City and is calling for businesses, homeowners and apartment dwellers to turn off lights at night or close shades to try to reduce bird deaths. At least one local major property owner—Brookfield Properties—has asked its tenants to turn off their lights at night during this time.
Fall migration will last through October. During the day, birds see sky reflected in windows and crash into them. At night, birds are attracted to bright lights shining from buildings. Check real-time bird migration forecast maps for the latest updates at https://birdcast.info.
If you find an injured bird, bring it to the Wild Bird Fund at 565 Columbus Avenue (88th Street). Try to approach it from behind, gently cup your hands around it, and put it in a paper bag for the trip uptown. Log injured or dead birds you find at https://dbird.org, a national, crowd-sourced data collection project launched by NYC Audubon. Locally, you can contribute observations specific to Battery Park City at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/battery-park-city-wildlife, and join hundreds of neighbors who have made thousands of observations about the flora and fauna in this neighborhood.
Due to habitat loss and pollution, there are many, many fewer birds in the sky. “We have lost three billion birds in the last 50 years,” said Jerome Ford from U.S. Fish and Wildlife two days ago. He was announcing that the Biden administration is reinstating laws (rolled back under Trump) that hold companies prosecutable for bird deaths.
THIS WEEK’S CALENDAR
Monday October 4
Community Board 1’s Land Use, Zoning & Economic Development Committee
Exercise in disguise! Join in on the fun featuring easy-to-follow Latin dance choreography while working on your balance, coordination and range of motion. Come prepared for enthusiastic instruction, a little strength training, and a lot of fun. Participants are expected to bring their own equipment: weights, water bottle, hand towel, etc. Masks required. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance.
How far would a mother go to reverse her child’s fate? This is a screening of Confetti, a brand-new film that takes the audience from rural China to the streets of New York City. Following the screening, filmmaker Ann Hu joins us for a talk back to talk about U.S.-China film collaboration. Written, produced, and directed by award-winning New York-based filmmaker Ann Hu, Confetti is a heart-filled mother/daughter story that looks at the often-silent struggles faced by so many immigrant families. Featuring affecting performances by Zhu Zhu, Amy Irving, and Harmonie He, Confetti shows that amongst a deluge of challenges, a sprinkling of hope, heart, and determination can help make sense of a confusing world and our place in it. $5
Community Board 1’s Transportation & Street Permits Committee
What if you uncovered a Nazi paper trail that revealed your father to be a man very different from the quiet, introspective dad you knew… or thought you knew? Growing up, author Mel Laytner saw his father as a quintessential Type B: passive and conventional. As he uncovered documents the Nazis didn’t burn, however, another man emerged—a black market ringleader and wily camp survivor who made his own luck. The tattered papers also shed light on painful secrets his father took to his grave. Melding the intimacy of personal memoir with the rigors of investigative journalism, What They Didn’t Burn: Uncovering My Father’s Holocaust Secrets is a heartwarming, inspiring story of resilience and redemption. A story of how desperate survivors turned hopeful refugees rebuilt their shattered lives in America, all the while struggling with the lingering trauma that has impacted their children to this day. Join the Museum for a conversation with Laytner and Jane Eisner, Director of Academic Affairs at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and former editor-in-chief of The Forward, about What They Didn’t Burn. $10
With its amazing gardens and views of the Hudson River and New York Bay, Wagner Park is the perfect setting to practice your art. Participants should bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. Masks required. Free.
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who found himself at the center of a firestorm for his decision to report the infamous phone call that led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment, will tell his personal story in this Museum program moderated by CNN Senior Global Affairs Analyst Bianna Golodryga.
Vindman was born to Jewish parents in Soviet Ukraine and grew up in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood. In his new memoir Here, Right Matters: An American Story, Vindman offers a stirring account of his childhood as an immigrant, his career in national service, and the decisions leading up to, and fallout surrounding, his involvement in President Trump’s impeachment. Join the Museum for a conversation with Vindman and Golodryga about Here, Right Matters and the ways Vindman’s background has informed his life of service. $10
Even before the pandemic gripped the world, we were a nation suffering from unprecedented levels of stress and burnout. Now, nearly a year into our reworked lives — with remote work, childcare duties and nearly every other aspect of our daily routine completely upended — the stress of trying to balance our professional and personal lives is at an all-time high. But according to psychologist Joe Sanok, there is another way. In his new book, Thursday is the New Friday: How to Work Fewer Hours, Make More Money and Spend Time Doing What You Want, he argues that the traditional five-day workweek, with its deep, historical roots and strong reinforcement from the bygone industrial era, is no longer serving us well. Free.
Join Podge Thomas of Small Business Co-Pilot for a workshop on how to create a stand-out resume. Podge will focus on how to simplify your work experience, communicating HOW you work, and creating a layout that feels spacious and inviting, without compromising your career highlights. Free.
WALLENBERG, an epic new musical with book and lyrics by the 2006 Kleban Award-winning team of Laurence Holzman and Felicia Needleman and music by Benjamin Rosenbluth, brings the incredible true story of Raoul Wallenberg, one of the greatest unsung heroes of the 20th century, vividly to life. In July 1944, the 32-year-old Wallenberg, a businessman from Stockholm, left the safety of neutral Sweden on an American-sponsored mission to Nazi-occupied Hungary. Between face-offs with the notorious Adolf Eichmann and secret dealings with the wife of one of Hungary’s most prominent fascist leaders, Wallenberg saved over 100,000 lives—more than were rescued by any other individual during the Holocaust. Join the Museum for an evening with the creators and actors behind WALLENBERG, who will explore the Wallenberg story and perform a set of exhilarating and richly melodic songs from the musical’s score. $20.
The tall ship Wavertree, the schooner Pioneer, and the tug W.O. Decker are open to the public. Explore Wavertree while she is docked; cruise New York Harbor on W.O. Decker and Pioneer. Wavertree visits are free; Pioneer and Decker prices vary. Check website for times, prices and other details.
The Museum’s director, Carol Willis, will offer a gallery tour of SUPERTALL 2021 that surveys 58 supertalls worldwide and highlights a dozen recently completed towers that represent some of the most stunning new forms and innovative approaches to structural engineering around the world today. Please book a timed ticket at 3pm on Eventbrite. Free.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Providing Companion and Home Health Aide Care to clients with dementia.Help with grooming, dressing and wheelchair assistance. Able to escort client to parks and engage in conversations of desired topics and interests of client. Reliable & Honest
Reliable, trustworthy and caring Nanny looking for full time position preferably with newborns, infants and toddlers. I have experience in the Battery Park City area for 8 years. I will provide a loving, safe and nurturing environment for your child. Refs available upon request. Beverly 347 882 6612
HOUSEKEEPING/ NANNY/ BABYSITTER
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC. Call Tenzin
SEEKING LIVE-IN ELDER CARE
12 years experience, refs avail. I am a loving caring hardworking certified home health aide
Three indicators paint an equivocal portrait of the economic outlook for Lower Manhattan. The most upbeat of these is the so-called Pret Index, a metric created by Bloomberg News, which tracks the sales of lattes at various outposts of Pret A Manger, a chain of sandwich shops that largely serves office workers in urban business districts.
Data released by Bloomberg on Tuesday indicates that, among Pret A Manger locations in the Financial District and Tribeca, sales of cappuccino drinks, “set a new pandemic high last week,” recovering to 45 percent of sales levels from January, 2020—just before the advent of COVID-19.
More sobering is data from Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm, whose Marketview report for Manhattan retail in the second quarter of this year finds that fully 25 percent of ground-floor storefront spaces in Lower Manhattan are now vacant, and awaiting tenants. To read more…
Nutten Out of the Ordinary
Governors Island to Remain Open Throughout the Year
Since Governors Island opened to the public in 2005, the 172-acre greensward off Lower Manhattan has become Downtown’s equivalent of Central Park—with one crucial difference. The latter is open 365 days per year, while the quarter-square mile of hills and towering old-growth trees that was called Nutten Island by British settlers in the Colonial Era has, for more than a decade, been accessible to the public only in warm-weather months.
That all changed on Tuesday, when Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, effective immediately, Governors Island will remain open 12 months per year. The extended season will begin November 1, the day after the facility was slated to close for the year at the end of October.
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Samascott Orchard Orchard fruit, strawberries from Columbia County, New York
Francesa’s Bakery Breads and baked goods from Middlesex County, New Jersey
Meredith’s Bakery Baked goods from Ulster County, New York
Riverine Ranch Water Buffalo meat and cheeses from Warren County, New Jersey
1857 Spirits Handcrafted potato vodka from Schoharie County, New York
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted
TODAY IN HISTORY
October 3, 1957, Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth is launched.
Sputnik 1 was part of the Soviet space program and signaled the beginning of the space race. It orbited in an elliptical low Earth orbit for three weeks before its batteries died. Sputnik 1 then orbited silently for two months before it fell back to earth on January 4, 1958.
23 – Rebels capture and sack the Chinese capital Chang’an during a peasant rebellion. They kill and decapitate the emperor, Wang Mang, two days later.
1302 – A peace treaty between the Byzantine Empire and the Republic of Venice ends the Byzantine–Venetian War (1296–1302).
1511 – Formation of the Holy League of Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Papal States and the Republic of Venice against France.
1582 – Pope Gregory XIII implements the Gregorian calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, October 4 of this year is followed directly by October 15.
1777 – Troops under George Washington are repelled by British troops under Sir William Howe.
1795 – Napoleon Bonaparte first rises to national prominence by suppressing armed counter-revolutionary rioters threatening the National Convention.
1853 – The Ottoman Empire declares war on the Russian Empire.
1927 – Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting Mount Rushmore.
1957 – Space Race: Launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.
1963 – Hurricane Flora kills 6,000 in Cuba and Haiti.
1965 – Pope Paul VI arrives in New York City, the first Pope to visit the Americas.
1983 – Richard Noble sets a new land speed record of 633.468 miles per hour(1,019.468 km/h), driving Thrust2 at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.
1993 – Russian Constitutional Crisis: In Moscow, tanks bombard the White House, a government building that housed the Russian parliament, while demonstrators against President Boris Yeltsin rally outside.
2006 – Wikileaks is launched by Julian Assange.
1289 – Louis X of France (d. 1316)
1550 – Charles IX of Sweden (d. 1611)
1625 – Jacqueline Pascal, French nun and composer (d. 1661)
1822 – Rutherford B. Hayes, general, lawyer, and politician, 19th President of the United States (d. 1893)
1861 – Frederic Remington, American painter, sculptor, and illustrator (d. 1909)
1862 – Edward Stratemeyer, American author and publisher (d. 1930)
1880 – Damon Runyon, American author and playwright (d. 1946)
1895 – Buster Keaton, American film actor, director, and producer (d. 1966)
1914 – Brendan Gill, American journalist and essayist (d. 1997)
1941 – Roy Blount, Jr., American journalist and author
1941 – Karl Oppitzhauser, Austrian race car driver
1946 – Susan Sarandon, American actress and activist
1052 – Vladimir of Novgorod (b. 1020)
1661 – Jacqueline Pascal, French nun and composer (b. 1625)
1669 – Rembrandt, Dutch painter and illustrator (b. 1606)
1859 – Karl Baedeker, German publisher, founded Baedeker (b. 1801)
1946 – Barney Oldfield, American race car driver and actor (b. 1878)
1947 – Max Planck, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1858)
1970 – Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter (b. 1943)
1982 – Glenn Gould, Canadian pianist and conductor (b. 1932)
1992 – Denny Hulme, New Zealand race car driver (b. 1936)
1999 – Art Farmer, American trumpet player and composer (b. 1928)
2004 – Gordon Cooper, American colonel, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1927)