It was seen as a victory when Staten Island's Fresh Kills landfill closed earlier this year after years of fighting over what to do with all the garbage. But since last week's tragedy at the World Trade Center, the dump is back in business, and this time no one is complaining.
NY1 Staten Island Reporter Roger Clark explains in the following report.
For more than a week, trucks have rolled into the Fresh Kills Landfill with remnants of what was once the World Trade Center. Fire engines and police cars crushed in the collapse have also been brought here.
Hundreds of police and forensic experts are combing through the wreckage. It's visible from Staten Island's West Shore Expressway, and it is proving to be a distraction for motorists.
"People driving are in a daze," says Travis resident Lawrence Zarzana. "I mean, when I go home everyday and I drive, people are not paying a lot of attention to the road. They are gazing over that way [towards Fresh Kills], and you can see that everybody's mind is somewhere else and not on their driving."
Meanwhile, on the other side of the island, volunteers have the rescue workers in Lower Manhattan on their minds. They are collecting supplies and making sure they get to the men and women at "Ground Zero."
A recreation center at the Staten Island Homeport is also a place for rescue workers to rest, relax, watch television and collect their thoughts before they go back to "Ground Zero" to rejoin the rescue effort.
"They have been sleeping here, they can come for a little rest, we have them shower, we have them take off their gear, eat a good hot meal, we have a phone bank available and we insist that they call their families. They leave with clean clothes, because they really need to be refreshed and they can do what they have to do just feeling better," says Staten Island Fleet Week Vice President Donna Cutugno.
Cutugno says the relief center at the S.I. Homeport will stay open as long as it is needed.
- Roger Clark