Breaking: Construction Workers Return to Trump SohoConstruction workers have returned to Trump Soho, a little over a month after DiFama Concrete worker Yurly Vanschytskyy fell 40 stories to his death off the building, after a wooden mold in which he was tamping down concrete collapsed. According to Newsday, the Department of Buildings is allowing Bovis, the contractor overseeing the project, to work on the first 23 floors, provided Bovis employ a full-time safety manager, train their workers better, and swaddle the upper floors of the building in scaffolding and netting. Donald Trump has never made a statement regarding the accident.
Work resumes on lower floors of Trump SoHo condo after fatal fall [Newsday]
Related: Intel’s coverage of the accident at Trump SoHo
in other news
Raising the Standard
The High Line, as the headline read on Adam Sternbergh’s May cover story for New York, brings good things to life. One such good thing: André Balazs’s High Line–straddling Standard Hotel, which, according to the photo that showed up on Curbed today, seems well along its way to fruition. As it happens, a Daily Intel spy tells us it’s magnificently behind schedule and overbudget. But, then, it’s in the meatpacking district; of course it’s too expensive.
High Line Construction Chronicles: Standard Anything But [Curbed]
Related: The High Line: It Brings Good Things to Life [NYM]
Freedom Tower Peeks Over Ground-Zero Sidewalks?
Oh, the excitement back in January, when Freedom Tower construction finally — five-plus years after the attacks — reached the towering height of eight feet below sidewalk level. The milestone was marked by a festive “Metro” section article in the Times, explaining just where you had to stand, and just how you had to crane your neck, to get a view of this feat of construction. So it’s with even greater exultation that we discovered this picture on Curbed today, which seems to indicate that construction has — are you sitting down? — actually progressed to above ground! Of course, the Curbed boys speculate what we’re seeing is merely a few Portajohns. Perhaps. But, even so, hey, we’ll take what we can get.
WTC Chaos Update: Something Rises Above Grade! [Curbed]
Earlier: The Freedom Tower Exists for Anyone Who Truly Believes In It
in other news
New ‘Times’ HQ: Mo’ Subcontractors, Mo’ ProblemsThe new New York Times tower is shiny and pretty and environmentally friendly and all that. But, as it turns out, it’s also a hulking mass of conflicts of interest. For the last year or so, every time the paper so much as passingly mentions the Atlantic Yards project it feels compelled to make the ritual disclosure that, indeed, Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner was also responsible for the new 52-story headquarters. And now that it’s turning out that at least some of the blame for the botched Deutsche Bank dismantling that led to two firefighters’ deaths belongs to a company called Safeway Environmental, a new standard disclaimer was introduced today:
(Safeway Environmental was one of the subcontractors used in the development of a new headquarters for The New York Times, across Eighth Avenue from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.)
What’s coming next? Did Roger Stone lobby for tax breaks on the new building? Did Joe Bruno fly down for the day to have a meeting about it? Do employees feel violated as neighbors peer through the glass walls at what’s going on inside? We so hope David Berkowitz used to deliver mail to whatever stood on the Eighth Avenue site back in the seventies. That’d be an awesome disclaimer.
Obscure Company Is Behind 9/11 Demolition Work [NYT]
What Does a $91 Million Train Station Look Like?
Because there’s news today that the new Metro-North station to be built at Yankee Stadium, set to open in spring 2009, will cost $91 million, twice its initial price tag, with the city kicking in some $39 million, and because we also like showing you renderings of construction projects under way throughout our fair city, we herewith present a sketch of the new station — that bridge on the right heads east from the station, above East 153rd Street, and lets fans off behind home plate of the current stadium, which will still leave them more than a few blocks from the new stadium — provided by the MTA. For what the thing costs, we hope the real one’s at least in color. —Alec Appelbaum
Next Stop: Yanks [Metro NY]
the morning line
A Bad Day for Daniel Goldstein*
• The key lawsuit seeking to block Atlantic Yards has been dismissed on a technicality. A group of tenants facing eminent-domain relocation failed to convince a judge they weren’t offered comparable housing. [NYP]
• Mark Green, the new president and one of the marquee voices of Air America, interviewed Michael Bloomberg for the network’s big relaunch next week; the ex-rivals were reportedly quite chummy, trading bad puns and agreeing on most of Bloomberg’s mayoral policies. [NYT]
• This is exactly what the torturously slow dismantling of the Deutsche Bank building was supposed to prevent: A fifteen-foot-long pipe fell 35 stories from the half-stripped skyscraper, plunging into a neighboring firehouse and sending two firefighters to the hospital. [NYDN]
• Bail for the domestic-enslaving Long Island couple was set at $2.5 million for the wife and $1 million for the husband; meanwhile, a raid on the mansion is said to have uncovered the instruments of torture, which include knives and a rolling pin. [Newsday]
• And, a bomb scare shook up an elementary school in the Putnam County town of Kent after a suspicious and fragrant package was delivered to the building. But not to fear: After a Hazmat team and bomb squad got involved, an X-ray revealed it was twelve pounds of marijuana. [WNBC]
* Or maybe not a bad day at all. As explained here, we totally misread this news.
Say Good Night, Alice, As Construction Work Starts
It’s been a big few days for the reconstruction of Lincoln Center, and last night Center president Reynold Levy and emcee Tom Brokaw hosted a “Good Night, Alice” party to mark the closure of Alice Tully Hall for renovation. Wynton Marsalis, Philip Glass, and Kelli O’Hara performed, and there were fireworks, but otherwise this was simply a dressed-up version of college kids hosting one last blowout before they moved out of their rented apartment. There were flasks of cosmopolitans and dirty martinis distributed — and even allowed (gasp!) inside the theater — plus appetizers served in construction-themed lunch pails. (Surprisingly, the general letting-down-of-hair resulted in the audible shattering of only four martini glasses.) Over the next two years, crews will install fancy glass walls overlooking Broadway, weather-protected bleachers, and even a bar, which led Levy to pledge Lincoln Center wouldn’t “close it until you do” each night. One important thing won’t change about the hall, though: its cushy leg room. The six-foot-two Tully ensured there’d be at least one theater in Manhattan where she’d be comfortable, Levy promised. “Some people want Alice Tully back so she can design airplanes,” he added. “Especially coach class.” —Jocelyn Guest
Earlier: Lincoln Center Holds a Press Conference on Overhaul, Tells Us Mostly What We Already Knew; Also: LEDs!
Lincoln Center Holds a Press Conference on Overhaul, Tells Us Mostly What We Already Knew; Also: LEDs!
Will LEDs and info displays seem as quaint in the 2050s as the white-walled, elevated Lincoln Center seems now? Not if architect Liz Diller has the touch her clients say she does. At a construction update today, Diller detailed how Diller Scofidio & Renfro, with FXFowle and other design specialists, plans to festoon every border of the twelve-institution center with a constant stream of showtimes and words as part of the $900 million effort to refresh the fifties-era complex. After recounting already-established plans at the press conference — a new lawn, outdoor restaurants, a sexed-up fountain — Diller told us more about the electronic displays, which, she said, will really grab passersby at key spots on 65th Street and on Broadway.
the morning line
Bruce Ratner vs. the Homeless, Too
• 350 residents were ordered out of a homeless shelter after a parapet fell off a Ratner-condemned building next door. Even the dourest pessimists at Develop Don’t Destroy didn’t think mass displacement at Atlantic Yards would already be an issue. [NYT]
• So that’s why the City Council wants to ban metal bats: An assistant baseball coach at East Side’s Norman Thomas H.S. allegedly went medieval with one, clubbing two kids over the head for cheering on a rival team. [NYDN]
• Not a week after a court confirmed activists’ right to film cops at protests, the NYPD is asking a judge to give officers back the right to film protesters. Everyone’s a damn auteur in this city. [amNY]
• Asian American groups are steadily mounting an Imus Redux; CBS Radio is under pressure to can shock jocks “JV and Elvis” for prank-calling a Chinese restaurant with “shlimp flied lice” jokes. Shouldn’t we be addressing the larger issue of why prank-calling restaurants is a marketable career option? [MediaChannel]
• And Jon Corzine says “I’m the most blessed person who ever lived.” Point taken, J.C.: The man is walking and talking two weeks after meeting a guardrail at 91mph. [WNBC]
atlantic yards watch
And So the Demolition Begins
The battle of Atlantic Yards has moved from the rarefied arena of the literary think piece through various political fights and ongoing court battles to, now, the simplest setup possible: In one corner, protesters; in the other, bulldozers. Yesterday, Forest City Ratner began knocking down four of the fifteen buildings around Flatbush Avenue it has slated for demolition. About a hundred Develop Don’t Destroy stalwarts — that’s the group’s turnout estimate — met the machines with some chants and signage, although no one tried to actually halt the demolition. The DDDB word is that Ratner is being hasty on purpose — to create a sense that Atlantic Yards is a fait accompli, even with an eminent-domain lawsuit hanging over it and a more thorough environmental review being demanded as we speak. It’s hard to shake a guilty feeling that, crude as the tactic is, Ratner may be succeeding. There’s something pre-deflated about a protest sign reading, as one did yesterday, “These Demolitions Are Premature.” Premature?! How about “illegal”? “Criminal”? We know they’re not, technically. But you’re a protest sign; you can say these things!
Develop Don’t Destroy Release [DDDB.net]
Dear Mr. Mayor:
We’re pleased that you and your planning department are working to ensure New York remains pleasantly habitable in the year 2030. But we think it’d be pretty great if you worked to ensure New York is pleasantly habitable in 2007, too. And you know what might help that? Not sending heavy machinery to tear up streets in residential neighborhoods in the middle of the night, at hours when normal people — like, say, those who have to get up early in the morning to edit Websites for well-respected city magazines — are trying to sleep. (Crazy, right?) We know what you’ll say. You’ll say you do these things overnight so as not to interfere with traffic. But explain this: Why do you expect traffic to successfully navigate itself around yet another Italian-sausage-and-cheap-socks mid-afternoon street fair but not around this? Or, at least, can’t you notify residents that the work will be coming, so we can perhaps make plans to sleep elsewhere? Because it certainly isn’t fun to find the above scene — be sure to note the two men with jackhammers — 50 feet outside your bedroom window at around 11:30 at night.
That’s all, Mr. Mayor. Hope you slept well.
Daily Intel’s coverage of PlaNYC
Sam Mason Waits for His Wood
It’s time for another Grub Street check-in with Sam Mason, the former wd-50 pastry chef who’s working (and working and working) to open his own Soho spot, Tailor. Today we learn of yet another hiccup. Who knew you have to wait three days before laying hardwood floors? But there’s an upside to that delay: It gave Sam time to go shopping for sexy Japanese knives. Everything you ever wanted to know about humidity, grout, and Japanese carbon steel awaits in The Launch at Grub Street.
Sam Mason on the Sexiness of Japanese Steel [Grub Street]
French ‘Vision Machine’ Starts Rising in Chelsea“Nothing has ever been built like it in NYC,” says Jean Nouvel’s publicist of a project the French starchitect has designed for 19th Street and the West Side Highway, and though it’s a publicist’s job to say that, she might actually be right. Nouvel, a perennially mentioned Pritzker Prize contender, announced that construction has begun — and released the first renderings — on the same day Richard Rogers won the 2007 prize. Is it a recyclable takeout rice container? No, it’s a “Vision Machine,” an energy-efficient skyscraper in which, to quote the publicist, “every single pane has been figured out to correspond to an interior space and no two are alike.”
Once More Into the Service Road — and Into West Street, TooIn 2002, with the “primary cleanup” of ground zero barely over, the city quickly built and paved a service road connecting the World Trade Center site to West Street. Only gradually, and without much help from the media, it is becoming clear exactly how massive a screwup it was. Since Mayor Bloomberg reordered the search for human remains last October, medical examiners freed 445 “potential” body parts from beneath the road. Finally, after months and months of new grisly discoveries, the city is facing the obvious: A new, large-scale excavation is in order.
The Freedom Tower Exists for Anyone Who Truly Believes in It
How starved is the city for any tangible progress at ground zero? Well, consider this bit from today’s Times:
Stand on Vesey Street, between Greenwich and Washington Streets. Look through the chain-link fences and over the Jersey barriers. The tops of six columns of the tower’s south perimeter are now visible, sprouting from the depths of ground zero. A seventh column, standing alone nearby, is where the Freedom Tower’s east plaza will be …
They are visible from the sidewalk now because a second tier of steel has been added to each column, bringing them up to about 8 feet below street level.
That’s right, reporter David Dunlap gives you step-by-step instructions on where to stand, which way to face, and how hard to squint to see the thicket of steel that will eventually become the foundation for the Freedom Tower. Imagine the corks that will pop when the construction actually reaches sidewalk level.
What a View to Behold, and It’s Really Something [NYT]
atlantic yards watch
Bruce Ratner Will Ensure You Have Overpriced Coffee
Speaking of the inexorable march of franchised coffee, we noticed something interesting while idly gazing at some Atlantic Yards plans today. While much about Bruce Ratner’s project is still up in the air — Miss Brooklyn’s size, the project’s time line, the exact numbers of jobs it will create and people it will push out of their homes, who will win Daniel Goldstein’s lawsuits — one thing, however, is set in stone, at least according to sketches provided by Frank Gehry’s office. Atlantic Yards will definitely have a Starbucks.
Photos: Atlantic Yards Project [amNY]
Earlier: Old East Villager Distressed By Starbucks Influx; Also, Sky Is Blue
Spitzer, Already Bored of Taking on Albany, to Take on Moses, Too?
The Spitzer administration seems poised to undo a former public official’s legacy in the South Bronx — and this time we mean Robert Moses, not George Pataki. Community groups in the neighborhood have been trying since 1999 to raze Moses’s 1.25-mile, never-completed Sheridan Expressway and build a 28-acre greenway underneath. The state Department of Transportation committed a decade ago to overhauling parts of the Sheridan, but bureaucrats had dawdled while seeking easy plans for big contractors (and, as goes without saying, ignoring locals’ thirst for parkland). Now, says Sustainable South Bronx director Majora Carter, two of the four scenarios the state will consider this year include the local bikeway plan. That would replace the Tyrolean folly in the top picture with the boulevard in the lower shot. The community-proposed path would end at a park on a former cement plant usable for kayak launches. And it would mesh with Mayor Mike’s notion of making the mainland borough a middle-class beachhead. Imagine: You might pedal to Hunts Point’s wholesalers with your grocery basket and shopping list. What would Moses think? —Alec Appelbaum
More Real, Actual Freedom Tower Progress
In 2003, George Pataki expected the superstructure of Freedom Tower to have reached its full 1,776 feet by this September. In 2004, he presided over the cornerstore-laying for the building. And yesterday, finally, the first steel beams were installed there. (How is this different than that other first-things-being-installed ceremony a few weeks ago? We seem to recall that one involved concrete rather than steel.) Two beams were the result of yesterday’s work — there’ll be 27 in total — and they top out some 40 feet below street level. So thanks, Pataki, for that awesome leadership. You’ve shown the terrorists!
Pataki Finds Satisfaction in New Roots at 9/11 Site [NYT]
More Actual Progress at Ground Zero!
Could it be? Yes, it could. A mere three weeks after real, genuine construction started at ground zero — the concrete foundation was finally poured for the much-delayed Freedom Tower — there’s set to be some more real, genuine progress today. Five years after it was badly damaged and rendered uninhabitable by the attacks, the long-shrouded Deutsche Bank building is finally coming down. The AP is reporting that the building’s façade is being removed starting this morning; once that is gone, the steel-and-concrete infrastructure comes next. One of the new WTC towers is set to be built on the site, plus a new Greek Orthodox church. Don’t start rushing to say your Greek prayers, though: It’ll be a year till the current building is gone.
Work Begins Friday to Take Down Damaged WTC Skyscraper [AP via Newsday]
Earlier: Freedom Tower Construction Finally Begins, Boringly
the morning line
Bloomberg Succeeds in Prying Guns From Warm, Live Hands
• Bloomberg’s novel anti-gun initiative — going after out-of-state dealers — is paying off. (It also shows an unusually, um, national-minded thinking from a city mayor). Six gun stores in outlying states have agreed to let court officials monitor their sales; twelve more are being sued into agreement. [NYT]
• The Daily News has a cover story that would drive O. Henry to suicide: A Staten Island woman gets the news of her fiancé’s death in Iraq, followed two hours later by a FedExed engagement ring from him. We don’t normally fall for the human-face-of-war stuff from our tabs, but Christ. [NYDN]
• D.J. Carl Blaze of Power 105.1 is in the hospital after getting shot “at least 13 times.” The details are murky, and the shooter took Blaze’s $20,000 gold chain, but the hail of bullets appears far too excessive for a robbery. [NYP]
• A Brooklyn rabbi was cuffed and jailed on child-molestation charges last night, after the lawsuit against him made the papers earlier in the week. The alleged victim is a 9-year-old who claims to have been abused for two years. Neighbors say the rabbi “doesn’t fit the criteria.” [WNBC]
• Demolition is set to begin in a couple of hours on the iconic, conical Revere Sugar Refinery in Red Hook. Thor Equities, which is also building on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint and Coney Island waterfronts, snatched up the factory in a less-publicized deal for $40 million. [amNY]
it just happened
Freedom Tower Construction Finally Begins, Boringly
You see all that excitement? Let the historical record reflect that Saturday, November 18, was the start of construction on Freedom Tower. A mere five years after the Twin Towers were destroyed, and a mere two and a third years after the Freedom Tower cornerstone was laid, the concrete foundation was poured for the 1,776-foot office building. Of course, you still won’t see anything above street level till 2008. Exciting!
A Towering Start [NYDN]
the morning line
• Holy crap, could this be …? It is! There is actual construction afoot at ground zero — and on the Freedom Tower, no less. The steel cage defines the areas where elevators and stairwells will go; the pouring of concrete starts tomorrow. And if we’d seen this, oh, let’s see, four and a half years ago, we’d probably burst with pride. [NYT]
• In case you want to relive the glory of last Tuesday: A Democratic congressional candidate in Connecticut WON! WON! WON! the recount against his GOP opponent, a three-term incumbent. “Landslide Joe” (hey, he nicknamed himself) Courtney’s sweeping mandate is now officially based on a 91-vote advantage. [NYT]
• NYC’s Board of Health might take things slower with the trans-fat ban. It may also give it a form other than a piece of City Council legislation, lest the city be hit with a ton of lawsuits. McDonald’s, by the way, says it will totally comply (even as it’s hiring new high-profile lawyers). [Crain’s]
• A fired media executive is in deep trouble for being a good Samaritan, of sorts. Stevan Hoffacker was allegedly monitoring the company’s e-mail traffic from his home PC in Queens and sending colleagues heads-up messages if they were about to get canned as well. The bosses at SourceMedia must have been puzzled by all the prescient “You can’t fire me, I quit” storm-offs. [NYDN]
• And alleged phone-thrower Naomi Campbell is looking for a plea deal but won’t take anything that will require her to do cleanup duty (the court-mandated humiliation du jour for errant celebrities). “It’s not that she’s squeamish,” her lawyer is quoted saying — and trailing off directly afterward. [NYP]
Stop!Boerum Hill: City replaces stop signs with traffic light at one intersection, and neighbors aren’t pleased. [Streets Blog]
Boerum Hill: Who you gonna call? Well, don’t bother with the police, if you live on a block stuck between two precincts. [NYDN]
East Village and Lower East Side: Work continues on East River Park, with 6th Street running track reopened and overall project set for final completion in 2008. [Grand Street News]
Fort Greene: There’s a new church coming, but don’t tell the local prostitutes. [Brownstoner]
Harlem: There’s some weird architecture — an old-school front porch, a very new-school modern thing — on East 128th Street townhouses. [Bagel in Harlem]
Lower East Side: Proposed neighborhood-friendly LES rezoning may not be as neighborhood-friendly as it’s cracked up to be. [LoHo 10002]
Lower East Side: Thanks to construction-detritus pulverized Styrofoam, you can play in the snow even when it’s 60-plus degrees out. [What About the Plastic Animals? via Curbed]