World Trade Center: 9/11 Memorial's Millionth Visitor
Open since Sept. 12, the 9/11 Memorial celebrated its millionth visitor the last week of December, 9/11 Memorial Chairman and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels announced. The memorial was dedicated to the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 26, 1993, attacks on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 before it was opened to the general public the following day.
"More visitors than ever before-50.2 million-came to New York City in 2011," said Bloomberg in a release distributed by the 9/11 Memorial. "And this year, 1 million of them were able to add a visit to the 9/11 Memorial to their trip, commemorating the lives of those lost on that unforgettable day. The Memorial is now a part of the fabric of Lower Manhattan, and its 1 million visitors have helped the neighborhood reemerge as a vibrant and bustling part of our great city."
"For 10 years, people were only able to walk the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, stealing glances at the progress through construction fences," Daniels added. "As of today, more than 1 million people have returned to this sacred ground to pay their respects and are able to witness the rebuilding of the World Trade Center all around them. It humbles us to see that the public's will to commemorate the victims of 9/11 is as strong as ever."
Chinatown Population Slip
While the streets of New York City's Chinatown still bustle with people, according to a recent piece on National Public Radio Dec. 31, there has been a 17 percent drop in the Chinatown population over the past decade. A few factors, from a waning local garment industry to high rent and utilities prices, were cited as encouraging an exodus to the nearby-and far cheaper-Flushing, Queens.
Bus Operation Shut Down
As reported by the Associated Press Dec. 29, Double Happyness Travel Inc., which ran buses from Albany, N.Y., Baltimore, Md., and Wilmington, Del., to Midtown and Chinatown, was ordered to stop operations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency reportedly uncovered multiple vehicle maintenance and driver safety violations. In the past few years, as the article pointed out, inexpensive bus operations have become wildly popular, but have recently gained unwanted attention as the result of a several fatal motor accidents.
Citywide : 13,000 New Yorkers Dropped from Food Stamp Program
During November, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn recently reported, over 13,000 New Yorkers were dropped from the food stamp program. This is reportedly the highest decrease in enrollment since December 2010. Quinn's release also claimed that the city's Human Resources Administration (has failed to provide an explanation for the spike in food stamp disqualifications. The city continues to fingerprint qualified applications, making it the only municipality in New York State to require this data. In the coming weeks, the Council Committee on General Welfare will hold oversight hearings on this issue
Quinn's Year-End Message to LGBT community
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wrote a special message to New York City's LGBT population at the year's end, highlighting the many achievements this community experienced in 2011.
"This past year was an historic one for New York City's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. By working together, our families stood strong and proud, and through our collective strength and passion we helped changed the landscape of our city for generations to come," wrote Quinn.
Under the leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York State passed legislation allowing gay marriage in June-the bill passed with four Republican votes.
"Now that New York has passed this important piece of legislation, we look forward to other states soon following suit," noted Quinn. "Together, we can show that marriage equality is the right thing for our nation-one that will strengthen our families and communities even more."
A few months later in September, the LGBT community celebrated another victory after the military's 18-year-old Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy officially ended. Quinn pointed out that the repeal of DADT brought the U.S. military in line with other industrialized nations that allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military.
"While effective leadership has been vital to accomplishing these victories, we also owe them to the relentless efforts of fearless advocates who didn't stop fighting until their voices were heard. New Yorkers have shown the world we are dedicated and committed to achieving full equality, Quinn added. "Knowing that residents and advocates are out there every day on the streets in every borough defending equality should give us all renewed hope and optimism for the future of human rights."
"We cannot rest until the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed and the military recognizes same-sex marriages of service members who risk their lives to protect this country," she continued. "In addition, we must address the epidemic of bullying in this country. We have seen far too many young LGBT people taking their own lives because of the mean-spirited behavior of others. This is unacceptable-we must do better."
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