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Many New Yorkers Rejected The Six Plans
From Hoy
June 22, 2002

By Ana María Ramírez

Many New Yorkers rejected the six plans for the area where the Twin Towers once stood presented by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, but some consider that it is a first step for the renewal of the area.

In the "Listening to the City" event that took place on Saturday at the Jacob K. Javits center, at which about 5,500 people attended, family members of victims of the terrorist attacks criticized the memorial plans and architects called the plans "boring."

Benjamín Arroyo, a survivor of the attacks, said that we should not build on the place where the Twin Towers once were, but the final project should include tall elements that stand out in Manhattan’s landscape. "Something as grandiose as what was there before. It doesn’t need to be a tower, it could be an antenna."

Arroyo, who worked at the Marriott hotel as a porter for 17 years, added that economic interests are the priority in reconstruction. "It took me eight months to stop crying about what I saw: people burning up, jumping, and the buildings falling. Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority’s needs have been put first, and I agree with that. It isn’t realistic for the entire area to be a memorial."

After September 11, Arroyo has come forward as a volunteer to defend the workers, like himself, who were left unemployed after the attacks and haven’t received enough help. "The Marriott company has behaved very badly, they tried to just shake us off and according to the Victims’ Compensation Fund I don’t have the requirements to receive aid because I didn’t have any physical injuries, although since September 11 I have had many problems with my lungs."

William Rodríguez worked in the World Trade Center for 20 years and is leading the aid organization for Hispanic victims. He is inclined to support the plan "Memorial Promenade," that contemplates the construction of six towers, 2 with 63 floors and four with 32, a grand walkway and a park. "In the others, the buildings appear piled up too close to each other. In general, I didn’t like the six plans. They have to go back to the drawing board."

Even though Rodríguez supports rebuilding and renewing the area where the World Trade Center stood, he said that the process shouldn’t be moving so quickly. "I know my own feelings and those of the family members. If they want to redevelop lower Manhattan there are other areas like South Street in the Streetport, the East part of Canal Street and the docks on the East side where there is nothing right now."

For Rodríguez, one of the priorities is building a system of subway trains in the area.

Another survivor of the terrorist attacks, Enrique Cruz, said that even though he is still suffering the consequences of what happened on September 11, he would like to again work in the area where the Twin Towers once stood. "They operated on my knee because I fell various times trying to escape and saving many people. I am in therapy but I have been keeping a positive attitude; I have passed through so many dangers."

Cruz said that he is not against the idea of constructing office buildings in the area. "There are people who spend a lot of money to get these contracts, and it is important for the economy. We need to keep moving forward."

Translated from Spanish by Erica Pearson


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