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Queens Chronicle

Tribute to the past, hope for the future

World Trade Center rises from the ashes, opens to public on Monday

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Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:14 pm, Thu Sep 8, 2011.

The families of the dead and dignitaries will come on Sunday. And on Monday the site of the World Trade Center will open to the public as a tribute not only to the deceased, but to the city and the people they typified.

“In the wake of the attacks, New Yorkers united first in grief — and then in resolve,” said Mayor Bloomberg on Tuesday. “ ... And we understood that we could not expect our men and women in uniform abroad to defend [our] values alone. We had to do our part right here at home.

“And did we ever,” Bloomberg said. “Over the past decade, New York City has come roaring back, faster and stronger than anyone thought possible.”

Ten years later, gardens, sculptures and a museum are ready to welcome visitors. PATH and subway stations move toward completion bringing back tourists and commerce; and 1 World Trade Center is reclaiming the site’s rightful place in the city’s skyline.

Steve Coleman, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said its commitment to the $11 billion project is proceeding at full speed.

“Right now 1 World Trade Center is up to the 80th floor,” Coleman said. “That leaves 24 to go, and we’re putting up about one floor per week.” He said the steel work is expected to be completed in February. The glass window facade, now up to the 53rd floor, is progressing at about the same pace.

He said 225 trees adorning the plaza withstood Hurricane Irene quite nicely. A visitor’s center, though not open to the public, is completed on the outside. The waterfalls in the memorial pools are working and plaques naming the victims of Sept. 11, 2001 are in place.

And the Port Authority has installed fencing around unfinished parts of the eight-acre plaza so visitors and workers will not interfere with each other between now and 2014, when all work is expected to be completed.

Coleman said the Port Authority managed construction of the 9/11 museum, but is not in charge of its operation. He also said the components of the WTC transportation hub are in varying stages of completion, including passage for the No. 1 subway and a New Jersey PATH station.

“When it’s done, you’ll be able to get off the PATH train and connect with 11 subway lines,” he said.

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