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Update from Manhattan Community Board 1 ( the World Trade Center)

  • Subject: [cg] Update from Manhattan Community Board 1 ( the World Trade Center)
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 16:15:35 EDT


As some of you may know, I'm a member of Manhattan Community Board 4, a group 
of 50 neighborhood residents/activists some appointed at the suggestion of 
the City Council person or entirely at the discetion  Manhattan Borough 
President, C. Virgina Fields. 

There are 59 community boards in NYC all of which are ultimately apponted by 
their respective Borough Presidents.  

Manhattan Community Board 1 encompasses the World Trade Center site as well 
as many of the Lower East Side Community Gardens, and Battery Park City where 
Tessa lives and works.  

The attached is a report from  Board 4 Chair, Simone Sindin, a wise and level 
headed retired business person and grandmother who has a level head, a great 
deal of common sense and wasn't born yesterday.  These are minutes from the 
Manhattan Borough Board ( a collection of Community Board Chairs, 
representatives of the Manhattan Borough President's office, NYC City Council 
members and interested parties. 

If you thought that politics were suddenly put aside in this crisis, look 
again. It's politics as normal during abnormal times. 
Guaranteed, this is is stuff that you will not get on CNN.

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman 

  • Subject: (no subject)
  • From: Simsilver@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 21:30:27 EDT
  • Full-name: Simsilver
To All Board Members and Other Interested Parties"

On Thursday, September 20, 2001, I attended a meeting of the Manhattan 
Borough Board chaired by C. Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President.  
This Board meets regularly once a month and is attended by all Chairs of 
Manhattan Community Boards as well as any member of the City Council, any 
other elected official with business to discuss.

The following are my raw, un-edited notes from the meeting.
This meeting was completely devoted to discussing and helping to solve the 
myriad problems arising from the devastating attack on the World Trades 
Center. Information was forthcoming that had been completely unavailable in 
the media. Had I not attended this meeting, I would not be knowledgeable on 
any of the points listed below, and I wish to pass this information along to 
all of our Board members and any other interested parties.

Councilmember Marguerita Lopez reported that Mayor Giuliani did not include 
any local elected officials or community board representation from Lower 
Manhattan when forming a Control Center for Lower Manhattan.  These people 
should have been included because they know their own areas and the numbers 
of residents and small business people who live and work there. They were not 
allowed into the Control Center which was  set up to handle all of the 
disaster problems.
As of the time of this meeting, Councilmembers Marguerita Lopez and Katherine 
Freed have never been called and asked for their input of information 
regardless of the fact that they both represent the Lower Manhattan areas.

The following represents my note taking at the meeting:

1.  No food deliveries were allowed into the area for several days.
2.  Numbers of Aids patients did not eat for two days because Meals on Wheels 
was not allowed to deliver. The Meals and the Volunteers were available but 
they were denied entry.
3.  Nursing care was not available to homebound sick people. A liver 
transplant patient had no care for two days.
4.  Councilmember Lopez made up her own infrastructure plan inasmuch as there 
was no telephone service. She recruited volunteers to go out, street by 
street, to knock on doors to find out if there were marooned people lacking 
services. There were at least 15,000 homebound people. Not all residents 
leave their homes in the morning to go out to work. There are homemakers, 
patients and other stay-at-homes who were affected by the lack of service 
that is normally available.

Obviously a better plan has to be devised to function in emergencies such as 
this. If the Mayor was not going to call on all of his available sources such 
as everyone within the City Council, then the local Councilmembers had to 
construct their own emergency plans. Councilmembers Ronnie Eldridge and 
Margarita Lopez used their own resources to have volunteers deliver groceries 
and medications to homebound people. Seniors watching TV were dazed and 
needed explanations. The Borough President set up her own communications 
center using the volunteers furnished by Ronnie Eldridge  and Margarita Lopez.

Small business people are at a loss. They are unable to continue business 
downtown and need new space in northern Manhattan to continue to function. 
September 19 was the first day the downtown community received normal food 
deliveries.  The rescue workers had mountains of food available to them which 
of course was necessary. However, other existing residents had the same needs 
and were really not represented.  30,000 people have no homes. Insurance 
Companies cover only two weeks of hotel living and costs. The Department of 
Environmental Protection has refused to test the air and test the buildings 
that house the residents. The reason for the refusal was not stated. However, 
if you were such a resident, how comfortable would you be to return to a home 
that was covered with dust and particles from the explosion without knowing 
the extent of the pollution. 

Today is a week and 3 days since the attack. Why do we have to wait for the 
decisions to come from people who do not know the area. A Lower Manhattan 
Task Force has been established with all public officials on it --electeds 
and community board people. They state that Con Ed has been doing a terrific 
job. Verizon was originally denied entry to the area by FEMA.(Federal 
Emergency Management Agency). Their ground crews have to start re-wiring 
whole areas. Small business people need to start cleaning up. The Mayor's 
force has been directed largely at large business.

As for City government, as of yesterday, there was still no cross 
communication. There is no communication via their Web site. The Council 
system was still down with no or very little cross communication.  There is 
talk of the new RECONSTRUCTION COMMITTEE which would have 7 members, each 
with 5 year terms. There is a bill that was introduced to the Council this 
morning, but not voted on as yet. Talk is that there are many things wrong 
with this bill. Decisions would be made at this time that would affect future 

Councimember Christine Quinn has been meeting with Muslim groups and Asian 
groups fearing backlash problems. She felt that the Deputy Commissioner for 
Community Affairs of the Police Department should be talking to such groups. 
There have been reported attacks on Arab groups. Quinn visited the a Muslim 
Imman in upper NY to assure him that such attacks would not be tolerated. She 
says that it is important to tell everyone that victimizing Arabs and Muslim 
groups will not help the victims or the families of the disaster.

Remarks by Madelaine Wins (sp), Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1 indicate 
that both Dept. of Environmental Protection and EPA have tested only for lead 
and asbestos. Ultimately residents are going to be allowed to return to their 
homes without knowing what kind of pollutants are present. Hopefully, 30 
years from now, today's crib dwellers will not be subject to cancerous 
problems caused by air borne pollutants. Even Mt. Sinai Hospital wanted to 
send in a testing group but was refused. However, this Chair states that she 
thinks the Mt. Sinai Testing Group is being sponsored by asbestos companies - 
not verified as of this writing. She also commented on the fact that if the 
primary is indeed held on September 25th, many of the residents of her area 
will not be represented. They may not have been able to return home and they 
may not be able to get to the polls - she feels they have been 

22,000 students have been moved. Chair of Board 1 states that her son is part 
of an elementary school class of 85.  Manhattan Community College was told 
they could open on October 31. This seems not probable since there has been 
no power available to the school and no testing of the building.

C. Virginia Fields is calling another meeting on Monday, September 24, 2001 
which will further discuss and plan for this Lower Manhattan Task Force.  I 
am unable to attend this meeting but Anthony Borelli, our District Manager, 
will attend in my place. I have just received notice that the Office of the 
Borough President will resume work at their headquarters in the Municipal 
Building on Monday, Sept. 24. They have been scattered all over the City and 
hopefully they will have some kind of communications set by then.

Submitted by:
Simone Sindin
Manhattan Community Board 4
Written as of Friday, September 21, 2001

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