New York Congressman Pushes for National Parks Takeover of September 11 Memorial
The annual Tribute in Light (on the roof of the Battery Garage) is managed by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which controversially cancelled the observance this year, before executives reversed themselves.
A rising star in New York’s Democratic congressional delegation is adding his voice to the chorus of critics who are convinced that the National Park Service (NPS) should take over management of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan.
In a story first reported by the New York Post, Congressman Rose (who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn in the House of Representatives) wrote last week to Margaret Everson, the Acting Director of NPS, requesting a meeting to review, “any and all measures the federal government—and your department—can take to safeguard the memory of the victims.” More than 300 residents of the district Mr. Rose now represents perished during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Mr. Rose’s position on this issue was sparked by the storm of controversy that engulfed the Memorial & Museum after its leadership decided to cancel both this year’s Tribute in Light (the twin beams of illumination that rise skyward from Lower Manhattan on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) and the annual reading of names that commemorates each life lost during the attacks.
After widespread denunciations of the move, the Memorial & Museum’s executives reversed themselves, claiming that the decisions were based on an abundance of caution in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus. Critics argued that the moves were actually intended as cost-saving measures, because the months-long dearth of tourists and visitors paying the Museum’s much-derided $26 admission fee has left the organization seriously short of cash.
“While it has been nearly two decades since that tragic day, the pain remains as vivid as it was all those years ago,” Mr. Rose wrote to Ms. Everson. “That is why the decision by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum to not only alter the deeply personal ceremony to mark the attacks, but also cancel the Tribute in Light was a slap in the face to the families who already lost so much.”
He added that the NPS “possesses valuable experience in overseeing hallowed grounds—from Gettysburg to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. As you know, caring for these sites means more than just maintaining the grounds—it requires reverence for those we lost, and empathy for all those they left behind.”
The National Park Service already manages a similar monument, the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which commemorates the site where a hijacked plane crashed on the morning of September 11, after passengers overpowered the terrorists in the cockpit, who were bent on diving the plane into the United States Capitol building, in Washington, D.C.
Below: Congressman Max Rose, a decorated veteran who served in Afghanistan during the War on Terror, believes that the National Park Service should take over the Memorial and Museum
Another directly relevant precedent is that the NPS also operates the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which commemorates the site where a hijacked plane crashed on the morning of September 11, after passengers overpowered the terrorists in the cockpit, who were bent on diving the plane into the United States Capitol building, in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Rose has personal experience with the War on Terror that followed that day. He enlisted in U.S. Army in 2010, at age 24, going on to serve for five years with First Armored Division, including two years in Afghanistan, where he was wounded after his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Kandahar, earning him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. More recently, in March of this year, he took time off from his Congressional duties to deploy with the National Guard, assisting New York City’s coronavirus pandemic response effort.
Congressman Rose is not alone in advocating for NPS to take over the Memorial and Museum. An advocacy group called 9/11 Parents of Firefighters and World Trade Center Victims, said that Memorial & Museum executives “blamed the COVID pandemic for the cancellations. The public did not buy it—they knew that both essential 9/11 commemorative events could be done safely. They knew money is at the heart of these disgraceful decisions—the most expensive Memorial and Museum ever constructed, at a cost of over $800 million, is also the most expensive to operate. This incredibly embarrassing situation has exposed the absurdity of their $80-million annual budget.”
“The closure of the 9/11 museum has cut off the supply of cash,” they continued, arguing that this caused, “the management to terminate or furlough… employees. And yet, the high-salaried senior leadership remains in place to beg for federal handouts.”
The group added that, “it is appropriate and timely for the National Park Service to assume operational control and management of the 9/11 aboveground Memorial at Ground Zero. The National Park Service would bring desperately needed professionalism, fiscal controls, patriotism, honor, and respect to the site where nearly 3,000 persons—including our heroic sons and loved ones—lost their lives for our beloved country.”
“If the federal government is going to have to bail out the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, why shouldn’t they take control?” asks Todd Fine, an historian and preservationist based in Lower Manhattan.
“When the project was first being organized, almost a decade ago, the National Park Service was reluctant to take on responsibility for a non-profit they didn’t control, located on land they didn’t own,” Mr. Fine continues.
“But the argument for this arrangement to run the Memorial assumed there would always be enough tourist money to keep the lights on,” he observes. “And who can say this is being run effectively when it costs $26 per person to get in, and multiple executives are making salaries approaching half a million dollars per year?”
“If the Port Authority,” which owns the World Trade Center site, “and the feds wanted the National Park Service to take it over, they would probably go along. And they would almost certainly do a better job,” he argues.
Mr. Fine has sent a formal request to the National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee of the House of Representatives, asking for a hearing and arguing that, “the institution’s desperate need for government subsidy emphasizes why the Memorial site should be a permanent and stable part of the National Park Service.”
He continues, “the Memorial was built with around a billion dollars of taxpayer money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other sources. It should belong to the American people.”
Priorities Pedagogical and Epidemiological
FiDi School Deemed Unsafe to Reopen Over Ventilation Concerns
A Lower Manhattan public school has been identified as potentially unsafe during a Department of Education review of whether building ventilation systems meet new, higher standards of air circulation in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus.
On Monday, the DOE announced that ten schools in its system had failed to pass this inspection. Among them is the High School of Economics and Finance (located on Trinity Place, near Cedar Street). To read more…
State Prosecutor Probes Trump Finances in FiDi Landmark
The office building at 40 Wall Street figures prominently in a probe by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating whether President Donald Trump (who holds a “ground lease” on the 1930 skyscraper through the year 2059) fraudulently inflated the property’s value in loan documents, when using the structure as collateral.
On Wednesday, State Supreme Court judge Arthur Engoron ordered Eric Trump (who is running the Trump real estate organization while his father is in the White House) to appear in court in September 23 to “show cause” as to why he and the firm he heads should not be forced to hand over documents demanded by Ms. James for her investigation. The judge also ordered both Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization to summit any written arguments by September 16.
Pieces of China: Yue-Sai Kan on the Lipstick that Changed China
Pieces of China is an online series that tells the story of China, one object at a time. The year was 1992, and Deng Xiaoping had just urged the Chinese to go out and get rich. Blue and green Mao suits were still common, and the streets bristled with bicycles. Yue-Sai Kan — already known for the hugely popular “One World” TV show that gave many Chinese their first glimpse of the outside world — launched China’s first cosmetics brand. Today, Yue-Sai, who People magazine once called “the most famous woman in China,” joins us to talk about women in China and the moment when they were one again allowed to feel beautiful.
10 Strategies to Recession-Proof Your Career
How can you take more control over your career when everything is in flux? In this workshop, Lenore Kantor, a growth consultant and leadership coach who has launched over 100 products and advised hundreds of startup founders, will teach you the steps you can take to chart a course forward that is tailored to your strengths and expertise. You’ll learn a framework for embracing flexibility that will give you practical approaches and mindset tools to help you navigate a rapidly changing environment. The workshop will explore 10 ways to recession-proof your career through decisions that will give you more clarity around the best way forward. You’ll walk away inspired about where you might find more opportunities.https://lmhq.nyc/events/10-strategies-recession-proof-your-career talks-readings
Author K-Ming Chang reads from her forthcoming book Bestiary (One World/Random House, September 2020) and has a conversation with writer T Kira Madden.
Friday September 11
19th Anniversary Commemoration of 9/11
9/11 Memorial & Museum
Family members of 9/11 victims will gather on the 9/11 Memorial plaza while adhering to state and federal guidelines regarding social distancing and public gatherings.
Finding Recovery in the Shadow of 9/11: Stories from a Child Survivor
New York Adventure Club
On September 11, 2001, 12-year-old Helaina Hovitz — who lived only blocks from the Twin Towers — had just arrived at her local middle school in lower Manhattan. The images, footage, events, and experiences that are now common knowledge to everyone were a very real part of Helaina’s life, which unfolded in real time as she fled from the collapse and returned to her home in what was now a war zone. There are people around the world, and even New York City, who aren’t aware of the way children and families were impacted that day. And in the months and years that followed, severe and long-term damage was inflicted on the hundreds of thousands of people living and working in the area that day. This is the story of one girl’s experience living in the shadow of the attacks, and her journey to recovery.https://www.nyadventureclub.com/event/finding-recovery-in-the-shadow-of-911-stories-from-a-child-survivor-registration-118300950327/
Special program, presented in partnership with the Transportation Institute and the New York Council Navy League, to hear firsthand stories from the Coast Guard and maritime industry personnel who took part in the 9/11 Boatlift. As tragedy unfolded on September 11, 2001, ordinary Americans did what Americans do at their best — they answered the call to help their fellow citizens. With Lower Manhattan streets blocked and the subways closed, crowds built up along accessible points of the shoreline. Captains and crew of the ferries already in the area, assisted by NYPD, started loading passengers to bring them to safety. With that, the largest maritime evacuation in history began.
Tribute in Light
9/11 Memorial & Museum
Tribute in Light is a commemorative public art installation first presented six months after 9/11 and then every year thereafter, from dusk to dawn, on the night of September 11. It has become an iconic symbol that both honors those killed and celebrates the unbreakable spirit of New York.
Downtown Museums Begin to Welcome Back Visitors
Lower Manhattan cultural institutions are beginning to stir from their months-long lockdown.
The 9/11 Tribute Museum (92 Greenwich Street, at the corner of Rector Street), reopened on September 3. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum(within the World Trade Center complex) will reopen its doors on the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Museum of Jewish Heritage 36 Battery Place, near First Place) will welcome visitors back starting on September 13, and has also extended the run of its acclaimed exhibit, “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away,” through May 2.
On-Again, Off-Again Decision about Tribute in Light Revives Calls for National Parks to Manage September 11 Memorial
The recent controversy over the planned cancellation of the Tribute in Light (the twin beams of illumination that rise skyward from Lower Manhattan on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) has led to renewed calls by community leaders for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to be taken over by the federal government, and operated by the National Park Service (NPS).
The most recent dispute arose in August, when the Memorial announced that it was cancelling both the Tribute in Light and the annual reading of names that commemorates each life lost during the attacks. Both of these moves were characterized as public-safety measures, in the response to the ongoing pandemic coronavirus. To read more…
EYES TO THE SKY
September 8 – 20, 2020
Planets shine all night – brilliant morning planets
In the evening sky, planets Jupiter and Saturn shine side by side in the south. Jupiter, at magnitude -2.51, is visible at dusk and is joined, as darkness falls, by Saturn (.34 m). Reminder: the smaller the number the brighter the celestial body. Enjoy the juxtaposed planets, the largest in our solar system, until they set in the southwest after midnight. To read more…
The Fate of a Neighborhood
Appeals Panel Overturns Lower Court Decision Blocking Two Bridges Developments
Opponents of three massive real estate developments planned for the Lower East Side were dealt a setback on Thursday when the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court reversed a ruling from last year that said the projects were required to undergo a more rigorous form of public review before final approval. The Appellate Division, in a unanimous decision, ruled that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio had legal authority to approve the plans. To read more…
‘Schools Are Not Safe to Reopen’
Lower Manhattan Principals and Teachers Sound Alarm about Fall Semester
Multiple principals and teachers in Lower Manhattan public schools are voicing grave concerns about the plan to reopen education facilities on September 10.
They are also raising objections to the “blended learning model” that the City’s Department of Education (DOE) plans to implement this fall, with students going to school buildings one to three days per week, while learning remotely (from home) for the remainder of each week.
A coalition of 14 principals who run elementary and middle schools in the DOE’s District Two wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on August 19, calling upon them to, “delay the launch of in-person learning until we can adequately plan for a safe and instructionally sound return to school buildings.” To read more…
The Weight of Water
Discussion about Development Highlights Local Infrastructure Challenges
At what point does a water and sewer system designed after the Civil War to support a community of five-story buildings buckle under a district of 50- and 100-story buildings?
This was the question raised by Fern Cunningham at the June 17 meeting of the Quality of Life Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1). The Committee was reviewing a presentation by Humberto Galarza, a public affairs representative with the City’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Ms. Cunningham asked, “what is the impact of CB1’s increased density on our sewage treatment and access [to drinking water]?” This was a reference to the headlong pace of real estate development in Lower Manhattan in recent years.
“Every now and then we hear about water main breaks,” Ms. Cunningham continued, “and we are the oldest part of the City. To read more…
Welcome to the Velodrome
Visionary Plans for Getting Around Downtown Focus on Two Wheels and Two Feet
A pair of new studies outlines a future for Lower Manhattan that is highly cyclical. The first of these, a report from the Downtown Alliance titled, “Bicycle Infrastructure & Commuting in Lower Manhattan,” notes that more than 20 percent of people who are employed Downtown currently walk or bike to work, while nearly one-third of people who live here get to and from their places of business in the same way.
These hardy souls are among some 49,000 New York City commuters (concentrated mainly in Manhattan and Brooklyn) who get to the office and back under the power of their own legs each day — a figure that has jumped 55 percent since 2012, and is growing by roughly nine percent each year.
Local Apartment Rents and Sales Prices Tumbled in the Second Quarter
A trio of reports quantifies the extent to which property prices in Lower Manhattan crumbled in the three months ending June 30.
A pair of analyses from Platinum Properties, a brokerage firm headquartered in the Financial District, looks in detail at Battery Park City and the Financial District.
The company’s report about Battery Park City documents that the average sales price for a condominium in the community dropped by 24.81 percent, relative to the second quarter of 2019, to $1.16 million. This aggregate figure varies by apartment size, with the worst pain reserved for sellers of two-bedroom units, which dropped by 42.4 percent from the first quarter of this year. The number of units sold fell by more than half, to just nine apartments.
Kavanagh and Niou Aim to Protect Small Businesses by Offering Tax Incentives to Landlords
Two State legislators representing Lower Manhattan are proposing to rescue small businesses with a plan that would trade tax credits to landlords for rent breaks to commercial tenants.
Inspired by the acute financial distress that small businesses are experiencing in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus (and the economic cataclysm that it has unleashed), the “COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Lease Act,” sponsored in the State Senate by Brian Kavanagh and the Assembly by Yuh-Line Niou, aims to entice property owners to renegotiate leases and offer long-term, affordable rents to small business owners.
To read more…
Recently Reopened Businesses Downtown
Get Out on the Water
from North Cove
Need a safe and breezy break from your apartment? Several cruise operators have reopened in North Cove and are offering opportunities to get out on the water, including Tribeca Sailing, Ventura, and Classic Harbor Line. All cruise operators are adhering to social distancing guidelines; check individual websites for details.
A soldier for the Continental Army, Nathan Hale was hanged for spying by the British.
1509 – An earthquake known as “The Lesser Judgment Day” hits Constantinople.
1776 – American Revolutionary War: Nathan Hale volunteers to spy for the Continental Army.
1846 – Elias Howe is granted a patent for the sewing machine.
1897 – Lattimer massacre: A sheriff’s posse kills 19 unarmed striking immigrant miners in Lattimer, Pennsylvania, United States.
1932 – The New York City Subway’s third competing subway system, the municipally-owned IND, is opened
1939 – World War II: Canada declares war on Germany, joining the Allies:Poland, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
1960 – At the Summer Olympics in Rome, Abebe Bikila becomes the first sub-Saharan African to win a gold medal, winning the marathon in bare feet.
1961 – In the Italian Grand Prix, a crash causes the death of German Formula One driver Wolfgang von Trips and 13 spectators who are hit by his Ferrari.
1977 – Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of torture and murder, is the last person to be executed by guillotine in France.
2002 – Switzerland, traditionally a neutral country, becomes a full member of the United Nations.
2008 – The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland.
2017 – Hurricane Irma makes landfall on Cudjoe Key, Florida as a Category 4, after causing catastrophic damage throughout the Caribbean. Irma resulted in 134 deaths and $64.76 billion (2017 USD) in damage.
1659 – Henry Purcell, English organist and composer (d. 1695)
1839 – Isaac K. Funk, American minister and publisher, co-founded Funk & Wagnalls (d. 1912)
1907 – Dorothy Hill, Australian geologist and palaeontologist (d. 1997)
1929 – Arnold Palmer, American golfer and businessman (d. 2016)
1933 – Karl Lagerfeld, German-French fashion designer and photographer (d. 2019)
1941 – Stephen Jay Gould, American paleontologist, biologist, and author (d. 2002)
1945 – Jose Feliciano, Puerto Rican singer-songwriter and guitarist
1167 – Matilda of England, Holy Roman Empress (b. 1102)
1364 – Robert of Taranto, King of Albania
1933 – Giuseppe Campari, Italian race car driver (b. 1892)
1933 – Stanisław Czaykowski, Polish race car driver (b. 1899)
Edited from various sources including Wikipedia,and other media outlets