Tribeca Rally

The debate over anti-terrorism measures in the MTA is obviously hampered by the same circumstances that prompt it. How can you point out security flaws in the system without exposing them to would-be terrorists?
That was the problem some Tribeca residents grappled with until they decided to go public about the telecom hotel at 60 Hudson Street.
The building was issued a variance allowing it to store high levels of diesel fuel—more than would normally be permissible under city building codes.
“I live a block and a half away from this building… and four years ago I started negotiations with Patricia Lancaster (Buildings Commissioner) and hoped this could be resolved without going public,” said former Board 1 chair and LMDC board member Madelyn Wils at a rally in front of the building Sunday.
New York Civil Liberties Union head Norm Siegel was there, too.
“We don’t want talk about it because we don’t want to be part of a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said referring to fear of a possible terrorist attack on the building. “Now going public, people are going to say we’re responsible if something happens, but we have no choice.”
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Councilmember Alan Gerson and State Senator Martin Connor were also there.
“A school is right across the street from this building… It’s outrageous that the Department of Buildings would grant a variance,” said Mr. Conner.
“I’m surprised that with post 9/11 experience, we still have to fight in this mode over such an issue,” said Tribeca resident Roland Gebhardt. “What does the Fire Department think of this?”
Sixty Hudson is host to many communications companies such as FiberNet and Tel X. Tel X provides connection service to major businesses like AT&T, Cablevision and Verizon, according to its website. The oil is used for telecom back-up generators. According to attorneys for 60 Hudson, in the event of a blackout, the amount of diesel fuel permitted by city building codes would not be enough to uphold the telecommunication network infrastructure. Those codes have not been significantly updated since 1968, before telecom hotels were invented.
Tim Lannan, head of Neighbors Against Noise, a group of local residents that pioneered an effort to force 60 Hudson to comply with city standards, called for the DOB to enforce recommendations based on the recently-released National Institute for Standards and Technology report on the Trade Center collapse. Building 7 is believed to have collapsed in part because of fuel stored in the building’s base.
—Sara Levin