Hot on the heels of the killing of Osama bin Laden, who masterminded the World Trade Center attacks nearly a decade ago, President Barack Obama will be visiting Ground Zero today specifically for a wreath-laying ceremony.Â AM NY reports that Obama will not speak publicly, but will spend his time meeting with selected families of victims of the tragedy in private.
Obamaâ€™s NYCÂ itinerary is as follows: He will fly into JFK via Air Force on at 10:40 AM, meet with the NYPD and FDNY, as well as Port Authority Police. He will take part in the wreath-laying ceremony at 1:25 PM and have a private meeting at the September 11 Memorial Museum with 50 9/11 victims’ families selected by the White House. He is slated to leave the city at 3:10 PM.
Security will be on high alert throughout the city during his visit. Additional measures includeÂ plainclothes officers positioned amongst uniformed cops; sharpshooters stationed on rooftops;Â manholes welded shut; and mailboxes and garbage cans removed along the president’s travel route to prevent attacks from hidden bombs.
PATH train service to the WTC station will be suspended while Obama is there. Street closings in Lower Manhattan are also expected.
What do you think of Barack Obamaâ€™s visit to NYC today?
Crowds flocked to Ground Zero on Sunday night as news of the death of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden at the hands of Navy SEALS via a covert, Barrack Obama-sanctioned operation broke and began to spread. Â A good chunk of the people that ventured downtown to the former site of the Twin Towers were the surviving family members of those lost in the September 11th attacks of 2001. The news that Bin Laden was taken out brought a lot of still unhealed memories to the surface, but there was an overwhelming sense of vindication at the news and the reality it represented.
NY1 reports that Dianna Massaroli, widow of Cantor Fitzgerald employee Michael Massaroli, couldn’t stay away. “I had to come. Wide awake, beaming, we had to come,” said Massaroli.
Ricky Rubenfeld returned to the site to honor her cousin who perished in the attacks; his remains were not found until a full two weeks later. “Weâ€™re here not only to commemorate his death but to celebrate this amazing victory,” she said. “Itâ€™s a sense of relief and a sense of justice that [this] brought for our family. For all of the pain and the suffering that my cousin and his wife and his daughters and my father and the rest of the family endured.”
Katie McAvoy’s firefighter father John lost his life trying to save the lives of others on that fateful day. McAvoy was just Â a teen when she lost her dad, but she has a very adult view and perspective regarding the matter. Â “Justice has been served,” she said. “I think he would hopefully feel satisfied.”
Where were you when you heard the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed?
The Associated Press reports that despite a general culture of fear and the devastation caused in the wake of the September 11th attacks, downtown Manhattan has enjoyed a population boom.
As it turns out, people werenâ€™t driven from the area that is associated with the most horrific terrorist attack to ever occur on American soil. They were attracted to it! Census figures released last week show that the number of people living near Ground Zero has swelled by about 23,000 since 2000, making it one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the city. Around 46,000 people reside south of Chambers Street, which is the Ground Zero area.
Just over 82, 000 people live South of Canal Street, which is 15 blocks north of the former site of the Twin Towers. That figures equals a 43 percent increase from 2000 and includes Battery Park City.
Are you surprised that the Ground Zero area has enjoyed population growth despite the terrorist attacks, and the memory of them?
A video taken by a NYPD helicopter as it circles the burning World Trade Center towers during the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is quite possibly one of the most chilling events ever caught on tape. The video was recently released and can be viewed here.
The clip is approximately 20 minutes in length and the copter hovers incredibly close to the Twin Towers after both had been hit by commercial aircraft. The copter gets dangerously close to the burning buildingsâ€¦ almost too close. It is incredibly difficult to watch with such a bird’s eye view, even though it is essentially a historical document.
The video also captures the collapse of the Towers from a safe distance. Someone is heard saying, “We got out of there at the right time.”
400 lawsuits filed by ill Ground Zero rescue workers were tossed out of court by Judge Alvin Hellerstein. According to the New York Post, the workers ignored the city’s effort to settle or they simply could not be located by the attorney who was dispatched with the task of tracking them down.
Conversely, 98 percent of the workers eligible for compensation accepted the city’s offer. Only 152 of the over 10,000 plaintiffs that filed suit opted out of the agreement with the city, which is valued at over $660 million. Whether or not those cases go to trial will be decided on February 2, which Hellerstein set as the date for a court conference to discuss the hot-button matter.
Do you think that the judge should have given the MIA Ground Zero rescue workers more time to respond to the city’s effort to settle? Or is he being fair overall?
In what is sure to frustrate those who gave their time and energy in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it appears that the $7.4 billion aid package designed to benefit workers who got sick from their efforts at Ground Zero is fading. On Wednesday, the Senate passed a tax-cut bill without the 9/11 legislation.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the those who supported the legislation, which would provide both health care and compensation to the people who fell ill after working at the World Trade Center Site after the 9/11 attacks, hoped to get it attached to the tax deal. But that did not happen.
Republicans apparently placed priority on the tax cut. Also, when the Senateâ€™s spending bill was revealed on Wednesday, the 9/11 legislation was conspicuously absent from the list. While the House already passed the measure, many politicos feel that the project is too costly and could become wasteful and/or fraudulent.
Those who were exposed to the dangerous dust and debris from the WTC site are currently receiving piecemeal, government-provided health monitoring. This particular legislation would turn the short-term, case-by-case care into a long-term program. President Obama is a supporter of the bill and has said he would sign it if passed.
Letâ€™s take a moment to celebrate a major milestone. The Associated Press reports that the steel construction of 1 World Trade Center â€“ formerly the Freedom Tower – has reached the midway point. Many New Yorkers felt that the only salve that would heal the wounds of September 11 would be the day that the ground was broken. Now, the fact that the 1 World Trade Center site has reached the halfway point helps to soothe the scar just a little bit more.
The building is expected to be comprised of 104 stories and it reached the 52nd story mark on Thursday, rising 600 feet into the sky despite years of developmental delays. With its antenna, the building will rise to 1776 feet, making it the tallest structure in the cityâ€™s storied skyline.
Despite rechristening the building to â€œ1 World Trade Centerâ€ in a bid to lure corporate tenants, locals still refer to the site as the â€œFreedom Tower.â€
How does the news that 1 World Trade Center is halfway done make you feel?
More drama abounds at Ground Zero. The Greek Archdiocese of New York is at odds with the Port Authority over its promise to rebuild St. Nicholas Church. The church, initially located at 155 Cedar Street, was destroyed by the World Trade Center debris; the new location would be 130 Liberty Street, which was once the location of the Deutsche Bank building. Despite the haggling over funds and deal points, more problems â€“this time of the engineering sort- have arisen. The New York Post reports that the steel that the Port Authority ordered for the Vehicle Screening Center that would be located beneath the church is unable to support the structure the Archdiocese wants to build, making it structurally unsound.
The VSC is a security-clearance facility for delivery trucks and will provide service to buildings at the WTC site. A lawyer for the Archdiocese argued that the PAâ€™s claims about the steel is another stalling tactic, but an engineering source said that a redesign and ordering replacement steel would costs millions and further delays.
The Port Authority and the church have been battling over the rebuilding process, with the PA accusing the church of making escalating and unreasonable demands, while the church has said the PA is misappropriating the land and interfering with their rights.
Will this church ever be rebuilt in a fashion that suits both sides?