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WNYC News

9/11 First Responders and Recovery Workers Honored

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

he National September 11 Memorial and Museum has marked the 10th anniversary of the end of cleanup operations at the site with a tribute to recovery workers and first responders.

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It's A Free Country ®

On bin Laden Anniversary, Romney and Giuliani Visit 9/11 First Responders

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A year to the day after a team of Navy SEALs stormed Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, Mitt Romney was visiting firefighters in New York.

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Transportation Nation

Post 9/11 Security Upgrade To NYC Transit Lags

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

(New York, NY - WNYC) A new report says the first phase of the NY MTA's security upgrade after 9/11 won't be done for another two years, and that the cost keeps rising.

NY State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says more than 3,000 cameras are already in place at transit hubs and in bridges and tunnels. What's missing is the authority's ability to monitor some of them, and to communicate efficiently with the police and fire departments.  Another problem is communications rooms in the subway have been prone to overheat.

The work was supposed to be done in 2008 but a new report by the comptroller is pushing that date back to 2014. (Only last year, the comptroller said Phase 1 would be finished this year.) The final budget is expected to be $882 million dollars--nearly $300 million more than originally estimated.

It's costing more than expected to get seven command centers up and running. And the price could rise another $150 million if the NY MTA loses a court fight with Lockheed Martin, the project's original contractor. The authority says the company reneged on its contract; Lockheed Martin says the NY MTA didn't give it enough access to tunnels and other locations to get the work done.

The NY MTA says steady progress on its security upgrade has been made and that they've finished reinforcing 17 bridges, tunnels and train stations against terrorist explosions.

"We agree with the Comptroller's assessment that the system is more secure and the public better protected as a result of the security investments that we have made," said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan. "The report's conclusion is that the biggest obstacle going forward is funding, and we don't disagree."

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Schoolbook

Behind the Scenes with Spike Lee’s 9/11 Tribute

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Children from several New York public schools were part of Spike Lee's State Farm tribute to 9/11. Here's how it happened.

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Schoolbook

3,500 Classes With Too Many Students

Monday, September 12, 2011

More children are being squeezed into classrooms this year, with 3,500 classes already recorded that are over the contractual limits for middle and high schools, the Daily News reports. Fewer city schools are on the "persistently dangerous" list this year, down to 9 from 12, according to the New York Post. A Brooklyn school honors 9/11 victims today.

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Transportation Nation

Subway Station Severely Damaged on 9/11 Now Fully Restored

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

 

NY MTA Chairman Jay Walder (center) cuts the ribbon on newly restored Cortlandt Street subway station. (Photo by NY MTA.) Also pictured (L to R) Assemb. Daniel Squadron, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Walder, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, City Councilwoman Margaret Chin

(New York, NY - WNYC) When the Twin Towers hit the ground on 9/11, large parts of the nearby Cortlandt Street subway station collapsed onto itself. Steel beams, concrete, conduit wires and assorted debris crashed down on the tracks, clogging and closing a key part of Downtown Manhattan's transportation system.

Ten years later, minus five days, the station has at last been fully renovated.

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority joined various New York elected officials to cut the ribbon on the R line's new downtown platform, which has been closed since 2005.

"We made a commitment to fully reopen the Cortlandt Street station in time for the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and we are here today to fulfill that commitment," said NY MTA chairman Jay Walder.

City Councilwoman Margaret Chin said ten years of near-constant construction at the site has served as an uneasy reminder of 9/11's long reach.

"It told us that the subway is not complete, we're still missing something," she said. "But now ten years later, we're finally going to open this station. And then when we take the R train, we're going to feel the sense of rebirth, that finally it's done."

The station was shuttered for a year after the attacks on September 11th. It operated under makeshift conditions from 2002 to 2005 before undergoing a series of partial closings that allowed for a thorough renovation and the addition of a new underground passageway.

This latest and final bout of work cost $20 million and was paid for by the New York and New Jersey Port Authority and the NY MTA's capital construction budget.

The renovation restored twelve large ceramic murals installed in 1997 and collectively titled, "Trade, Treasure and Travel." The murals, which contain real and mythical creatures mingled with dollar signs and other signifiers of the nearby Financial District, were not damaged in the attacks. But they sat in storage until the station was ready to show them off again.

Cortlandt station mural (photo by Jim O'Grady/WNYC)

 

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Transportation Nation

"There Was No Playbook" -- Air Traffic Controllers Remember 9/11

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Air traffic controllers receiving reports about hijacked planes 30 minutes before the first plane struck the World Trade Center were one of the first groups of people who realized what was happening on 9/11.

Today the FAA  released a short video that shares the perspective of three air traffic controllers who worked that day. It's a sobering account of  the events of that morning and the scramble to clear the air space.  "Okay, we gotta put these aircraft on the ground," said one controller who was interviewed. "So we were working with the controllers to then tell the pilots 'you're going to have to land...you're going to have to pick an airport...tell us where you're gonna land."

You can watch the video above, and read more about it at Fast Lane, the US DOT secretary's blog.

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Schoolbook

Our 9/11: Growing Up in the Aftermath

Thursday, September 01, 2011

To mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, WNYC formed a partnership with the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to share the stories of six young people from the region who are part of the last generation of young people who remember 9/11 as a lived experience, rather than a historic event. Three of the young people are products of the city's school system. All of them give voice to grief, pain, and loss, but also resilience, altruism and courage. Listen to their audio reports, part of the Radio Rookies 9/11 project.

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Schoolbook

The Lessons of 9/11

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Holly Epstein Ojalvo and Annie Thoms, both teachers at Stuyvesant High School, were just beginning their day when the Twin Towers were hit on 9/11. On The Learning Network blog, the two write about how they and their students turned an international calamity into creative works that helped all of them cope, and learn some lasting lessons.

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Transportation Nation

Reconstructed Fulton Transit Center, Partly Damaged on 9/11, Starts Opening

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Looking up from below-ground through the frame of partially built oculus tower at the Fulton Transit Center. (Photo by Stephen Nessen / WNYC.)

(New York, NY - WNYC) At one time it was hoped that the $1.4 billion expansion and reconstruction of the Fulton Street Transit Center, partly damaged in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, would be done by the tenth anniversary of that day. That won't happen. But steady progress is being made on the much-delayed project, including the scheduled opening in the next two months of a new entrance and restoration of service to a closed portion of the Cortlandt Street station next to Ground Zero.

The sprawling underground complex is Lower Manhattan's primary transit crossroads. It has long been known as a good place to connect to different subway lines--if you can figure out how to do it. The center is a multi-leveled labyrinth connecting previously private subway systems not built to be compatible. A primary thrust of the project is to detangle it.

Workers prepare stairways for new tiles. (Photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

To show how that was going, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority invited a WNYC reporter to don a hard hat and take an escorted look at the busy underground construction site.

It's an organized mess.

Shadowy caverns contain patches of muck and puddles that workers wearing reflective vests splash through. Cement mixers turn lazily as heavy metal blasts from a boombox.

Parts of the complex are impressive. The new Dey Street underpass will connect the center's main entrance building, which is a block south of City Hall Park, with the World Trade Center. It's a huge tunnel that the MTA says will be lined with digital screens showing train information, ads and artwork. That's a big change from what the Fulton Street station has always been: dark, cramped and crowded.

New tile work under construction. (Photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

The grandest element is a fifty-foot glass tower over the main entrance that is to be topped by an oculus--a set of prisms to deflect natural light down to some of the subway platforms. The MTA seriously considered scrapping the tower in 2008 when the project went over budget. Then along came the federal stimulus and the tower was restored.

It was weirdly pleasing to stand two stories the street level on a future subway platform and look up through the steel framework of a tapered tower and see, above the high top of a construction crane, clouds scudding against blue sky.

When the center is all done and linked up with a station for the PATH Train to New Jersey under the World Trade Center--some time in 2016--visitors will be able to walk underground from the Winter Garden on the edge of the Hudson River to the William Street subway stop, about six blocks from South Street Seaport on the East River. That's about three-quarters of a mile.

The PATH Train to NJ is this way. (Photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Riders will have access to eleven subway lines, same as before. But the MTA says the warren of poorly lit passageways will be more open and straightforward. There should be less crowding and more space for the 300,000 people they expect to move through the Fulton Street Transit Center every weekday. That'll be a good day for downtown Manhattan, where 85 percent of all trips are made by mass transit, many of them using the center.

The project, begun in 2004, has been notorious for delays. Michael Horodniceanu, president of capital construction for the MTA, said part of the problem was the complexity of a task like building new station space under and around the 123 year-old Corbin Building, a nine-story landmark made of brick that will be incorporated into the main entrance. Horodniceanu said the Corbin Building's foundation had to be disassembled and rebuilt without using heavy machinery.

"It was done the old-fashioned way with a  pick and shovel," he said. "People went down 30, 40 feet with buckets pulling out stuff. Then we filled it with concrete."

Old brick work uncovered during renovations beneath the Corbin Building on Broadway. (Photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

And he said management of the project was flawed at the start. The MTA looked for a company to do every part of the enormous renovation on tight deadlines. Only one company bid and, when it got the job, soon started falling behind. Horodniceanu said when he came into his position in 2008, he broke the project up into parts, set what he called "realistic" deadlines and attracted multiple bidders.

Now the project seems on track. The MTA's part of it should be done by 2014.

To see more photos in a vivid slideshow of the project, go to WNYC.

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Transportation Nation

The World Trade Center Rises: View From the Top and a Trip to the Sandwich Shop

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Infrastructure geeks, don't miss these gorgeous and moving photos by our colleague, Stephen Nessen.

Stephen's been up in the Freedom Tower as recently as last week.

WNYC began visiting the World Trade Center site in April 2010 and continues to document the construction of One World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial, the transportation hub and the people working on the site.

Check here to see the latest photos from the work site.

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Studio 360

Paranoia in Prime Time

Saturday, September 10, 2005

As the new fall tv season begins, Kurt Andersen is intrigued by the number of 9/11-themed shows hitting the airwaves.

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