Archive for Monday, October 1, 2001

`Tough job even tougher’ for Trade Center workers as temperature drops

Governors visit midtown

October 1, 2001

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— Rain and wind chill into the 30s on Monday numbed the hands of rescue workers picking through more than a million tons of rubble at the World Trade Center site.

"It's turned pretty miserable. It's making a tough job even tougher," said Luis Montero, a 38-year-old laborer.

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The tedious work requires dexterity even in perfect weather, workers said, and the raw weather, the chilliest since the Sept. 11 attacks, hampered the already-backbreaking task. More rain and windy conditions were forecast.

Rush hour traffic was moderate as commuters returning to Manhattan faced the same restrictions that were tested Thursday and Friday. Mandatory carpooling resumed at bridges and tunnels heading into lower and midtown Manhattan from 6 a.m. to noon.

Trains and buses were crowded, but not unsually so, city transit spokesman Al O'Leary said.

Also Monday, the Borough of Manhattan Community College reopened for the first time since the terror attacks. It is four blocks away from the trade center and, while not substantially damaged, was taken over by up to 2,000 emergency workers who slept, ate and showered there.

"Everybody is being really, really positive," said college vice president G. Scott Anderson. "The students are really up. They are glad to be back at their school. ... They are happy to be alive."

One student is believed lost. More may turn up missing as the college checks on the whereabouts of students enrolled on Sept. 11 who do not return to classes this week. Grief counselors were available to students and staff.

The latest police figures showed 5,219 victims missing at the trade center _ down more than 400 as cross-checking eliminated duplications. Officials said 314 bodies had been recovered, with 255 identified.

Nearly three weeks after two hijacked jetliners slammed into the twin towers, Gov. George Pataki was expected to announce the deployment of National Guard troops at New York's airports.

President Bush has proposed a number of measures to improve airport security, including the stationing of Guardsmen, in an effort to encourage Americans to fly again.

"I'm satisfied that the president will lead us to victory over the terrorists militarily," Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist said Monday on NBC's "Today" show. "We want to win the war of the economy. It's time for families to conduct their lives in a normal way and get out and do things."

Sundquist was part of a group of governors who traveled to New York on American Airlines on Sunday to show support for air travel and tourism.

With him were the governors of Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and Mayor Anthony Williams of Washington, D.C. They stayed overnight in Manhattan after eating dinner in the midtown Theater District and seeing "The Lion King."

The group visited with New York City firefighters but not the World Trade Center site, saying they wanted to focus attention on promoting tourism.

Later Monday, the governors were to fly to Washington, D.C., where they also planned to promote tourism in the nation's Capital by visiting the Smithsonian and shopping downtown.

Another congressional delegation was due in New York Monday.

"All America is with the people of New York and certainly the victims and their families," House Speaker Dennis Hastert said as he toured the trade center site Sunday with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. "We are going to do what we can do in Congress to help."

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