Home » НОВОСТИ » Информация местных » Eviction, New York’s Ground Zero

Mostra/Nascondi il menu

Eviction, the other drama in New York’s Ground Zero

The poorest residents of the neighbourhood in which the Twin Towers stood until 2001 are afraid of losing their homes. Luxury buildings are to be constructed there.

Olga Imbaquingo, New York Corresponde nt

Money gives the orders when it comes to giving shape to and putting up constructions in ground zero, where, until the morning of September 11th 2001, there rose up the now missing Twin Towers.

A complex battle with many involved parties and far removed from the original wish to pay tribute to the deceased and to freedom is that which has caused the project to be redesigned countless times. Meanwhile, another reality is apparent in the surrounding areas.

At the beginning, the insanity drove many Wall Street companies and apartment proprietors from the neighbourhood. That, however, is all in the past because nowadays nobody talks about fear nor has any intention of leaving the area.Eviction, the other drama in New York’s ground zero.

“Everyone wanted to leave. Myself included. The city offered us 3,000 USD to keep us, I took the money and stayed, but now they are offering us 300 USD to leave because they want to build complexes just for millionaires”, says Wuilda Vera.

She is a Puerto Rican resident who has lived at Rutgers House Condominium for around 20 years. From the windows of her studio apartment she saw how the towers collapsed. She talks about it as if it had happened yesterday. She still dreams about it, but that nightmare has now been replaced with another one: the fear of being driven out of the place where she lives.

“It’s become a terrible result of the attacks”, says Stanley Mark, a Legal Representative for the Asian-American Education Fund, for whom “relocation is a reality and those most deeply affected are those who can’t pay high rents.

In his opinion, lower Manhattan is not only a district for the rich. “Many poor people live here, particularly Chinese and Latin people, who will probably be forced to abandon these neighbourhoods to give way to office blocks, hotels and luxury condos. That’s the insanity of today, besides health and unemployment.”

At the moment, for example, there are 33 luxury hotels, some ready and some under construction. “The investment in the hotel industry in the south district, which has become the most dynamic and desirable location”, Eric Deutsch, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York, told the press.

There already exists a zoning proposal that includes 111 blocks spanning Chinatown and lower Manhattan and the plan will be approved within 4 months. From this stems the fear of the residents, who claim that nobody took them into account for the project design, in a neighbourhood where the square metre for construction is an average of 20,000 USD.

Edith Hsu-Chen, Commissioner for City Planning, does not accept this criticism and maintains that everybody was invited to give their points of view and to make contributions.

“Chinatown and lower Manhattan are not up for sale”, the citizens say, but they have the feeling that they may lose the battle, due to the high investments made in the area: “Obama and McCain, we exist too”, say the inhabitants.

“It’s the Mayor’s racist plan, who wants to flush out the black people”, says Adolfo López, one of the community organizers. “The best strategy they have devised is to try to divide us, the Latins and the Chinese, but the two groups are now working together and we have more than 10,000 signatures from residents in the neighbourhood who are opposed to relocation”.

“The capital is running in leaps and bounds and when we wake up we’ll be on the streets”, adds Wuilda Vera.

Quito, Ecuador, 10th September 2008



According to resident Mercedes Esquerete, “in the apartment block where I’ve lived for 30 years there are dozens of empty apartments, the small businesses have been pushed out, the boys club closed and the building won’t be opened up again, the park opposite is now privatized.”


Eviction , New York