Weekend memorial planned for Yankee Stadium; search goes on for missing
NEW YORK (AP) – As rescue crews at the World Trade Center found more shattered concrete and twisted steel – but still no survivors – New York’s mayor said Wednesday that a weekend memorial for the fallen will be held at Yankee Stadium.
Authorities had said that a service planned for Central Park, once expected to draw a million mourners, would not take place. But Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told an afternoon news conference that there would be a memorial at the stadium in the city borough of the Bronx at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Admission will be by ticket only; there should be room for around 60,000 mourners, in a city of 8 million that is entirely in mourning. Security concerns shelved the Central Park event, the mayor said.
Meanwhile, the private grief went on – funerals for six firefighters and two police officers were held Wednesday.
Although city workers continued to pore over the rubble, the last survivor pulled from the wreckage emerged one week ago. Giuliani said their orders had not changed: They were still on a search and rescue mission.
He said the bodies of 233 people have been recovered from the debris that was once the Trade Center; of those, 170 have been identified by the medical examiner and their families notified. Another 5,422 were missing.
State officials said they were close to an agreement that would expedite the issuing of death certificates, so that families of the dead would have quicker access to insurance and other benefits.
There is no total for the massive costs incurred by the terrorists’ strike. Officials said the federal government had agreed to reimburse the state for all costs, including debris removal, emergency protection and repairs to public facilities.
Port Authority staffers who almost immediately rerouted underground trains were credited Wednesday with sparing thousands of New Jersey commuters from the maelstrom of the collapsing Trade Center towers.
Four minutes after the first attack, Port Authority Trans-Hudson officials ordered that no more passengers be discharged at the station beneath the Trade Center.
At that time of day, PATH trains normally arrive from New Jersey every two to four minutes loaded with 800 to 1,000 passengers each, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported Wednesday.
Between the trainmaster’s order and the second crash, when it became obvious that the twin towers were the target of terrorists, as many as 5,000 commuters would normally have been left at the station.
Giuliani led French President Jacques Chirac on a tour of the command center set up after the two hijacked jetliners slammed into the Trade Center towers.
”When you see it from the air, there’s an anger and determination to do something about it that I can’t describe,” Giuliani said.
Chirac praised Giuliani and New York for their calm. Headlines in France, according to Chirac, have referred to Giuliani as ”Rudy the Rock.”
”I have special thoughts for the firemen,” Chirac said. ”So many of them paid with their lives.”
France’s 1886 gift to the United States, the Statue of Liberty, remains visible through the smoke still rising from ground zero of the terrorist attack.
On Friday, the city will receive a gift from Japan: $10 million in relief aid, said City Council President Peter Vallone.
A new statue was on view in Manhattan – a bronze work that depicts a praying firefighter, down on one knee. It originally was cast to honor fallen firefighters in Missouri, but its maker and the foundation that commissioned it decided to donate it to New York.
Many stopped Wednesday to gaze at the statue, perched temporarily on a flatbed truck. Some lighted a candle or placed flowers around the statue’s base as others, visibly moved, bowed their heads.
”It touches you,” said Hakeem Adesanya of Teaneck, N.J. ”It makes you reflect.”
Former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, accompanied by daughter Chelsea, visited the family center on the Hudson River where thousands have flocked in search of loved ones.
”One of the strongest messages we have received is we have to go on,” the senator said.
Other New Yorkers settled into a somewhat nervous routine on the third day of the work week. Wall Street workers glanced over their shoulders at the gap in the downtown skyline.
”People are definitely on edge,” said Jess Spota, who walks to work through lower Manhattan to Wall Street. ”I don’t have a chance to forget about it. I look out my window at where the towers are supposed to be.”
For others, normalcy remained days – or weeks – away.
One block east of the Trade Center site, Andy Jurinko and Patricia Moore wondered when they would be allowed back into the apartment they’ve shared for 24 years.
Their cats are missing from the apartment on Cedar Street, just 400 feet from the south tower rubble. Jurinko, an artist, and Moore, a fashion designer, are cut off from their home and friends.
The building’s four dozen tenants, they said, ”are almost like a family.”
The New York Port Authority, which later became the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, built the World Trade Center in the 1970’s as part of an urban renewal project. It ran the complex until July, when Larry Silverstein took over a $3.2 billion, 99-year lease to operate the twin towers, two nine-story office buildings and the 400,000-square-foot shopping mall as part of a move toward private management. Announced in April, it was the richest real estate deal in the city’s history.
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