KFWB radio reporting for Tuesday, October 9th, 2001
The four-week mark this morning has brought the city a remarkable teeter-totter of heightened security, and relaxed restrictions.
Rail commuters disembarking today at Penn Station and Grand Central were sobered by the presence of National Guardsmen, ordered to the vast terminals by Governor George Pataki.
On the other hand, 3000 students returned to the reopened Stuyvesant High School - blocks from The Trade Center - this morning.
The New York Times quotes an engineering report that says an empty commuter train is parked in the station below the wreckage. Four of its cars are almost untouched, the other three, crushed beneath the weight of tons of debris.
Yet the report also says that the so-called "Bathtub" - the 70-foot retaining wall that keeps the Hudson River from reclaiming land-fill in the Trade Center area - has not been breached nor significantly damaged.
And if you have ever lived here or even stayed here for any length time, the most symbolic news: The Mayor announces that shortly he will end the month long suspension of what is officially the means by which the city can clean its roads... but which car-owners have often thought was a planned attempt to drive them nuts. Alternate Side of The Street Parking Regulations will soon be back in effect.
It will strike home to you if you've ever heard the letters "A-Q-M-D." Tell a Southern Californian that the air might be worse today, and he may start finding that those breaths require a little more effort. It is an accepted medical fact that while the effect may be originally psychological, it can become physical.
So imagine the impact of the news here: City and federal health officials insist, on a daily basis, that those returning to live, work, and go to school in the immediate area of the World Trade Center, are at no risk. But today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earmarked five million dollars to increase monitoring the air in the vicinity.
And when students returned to the newly-reopened Stuyvesant High School this morning, some parents expressed alarm that school officials had asked for written notification from students who had asthma or other respiratory problems.
OSHA reported again today that the air is clearly dusty and unpleasant but not threatening. On the other hand, an independent lab hired by a major downtown employer reported very high levels of the smallest, and thus most dangerous, fibers of pulverized asbestos.
Thus the message is straight forward: the air is safe around The World Trade Center. Unless it isn't.