Every time New Yorkers start to think of ground zero as your run-of-the-mill star-crossed construction site, along comes a brutal reminder that it’s not. And then we do our best to forget the reminder.
In 2002, when Con Ed workers pulled a Secret Service bulletproof vest out of a manhole a block from where the Towers stood, Bloomberg vowed a more thorough search for human remains. That search, as Daily News reported then, never actually transpired. Then, a few weeks ago, Con Ed workers again found debris and remains, including a foot-long human bone. And Bloomberg’s reaction again? Vow a more thorough search! “It’s very possible that something slipped through the cracks,” the mayor said yesterday, in a torturously unfortunate turn of phrase. So what’s he gonna do now?
This time City Hall is hedging the bet with ample specifics. Here’s what Bloomberg promises to do by mid-November:
• Lift every manhole cover from Barclay to Albany Streets and from Broadway to the Hudson.
• Dig up a service road leading to ground zero and a parking lot, both paved after 9/11.
• Sweep the roofs of the (egregiously misspelled) Millenium Hilton and One Liberty Plaza.
• Search CUNY’s Fiterman Hall, still choked with toxic debris, before demolishing it next month.
The announced logistics of the search leave little political wiggle room: It either will happen or it won’t. And if it doesn’t, the lack of action will be glaringly obvious to even the laziest observer. It’s worth noting, however, that the new promise is already clashing with the mayor’s very recent claim that the search will not slow down construction. So you didn’t really need that service road you’ll be digging up? Huh.
Mike Vows Full Search [NYDN]