Governor George E. Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chairman John C. Whitehead and President Lou Tomson today announced that LMDC is creating a Family Room adjacent to its 20th floor offices on the perimeter of ground zero. The Family Room, which will have a children’s area, will enable families to observe the site through the duration of the recovery effort in a private, comfortable setting. The Family Room will begin operating Monday, April 8.
The Family Room was created in response to a request by many families for a private, elevated indoor area on the perimeter of the World Trade Center site to replace the outdoor family platform on Liberty and West Streets. The LMDC will also explore a long-term observation area at this or another location that meets the needs of the families.
Chairman Whitehead said, "The LMDC staff has been working hard to get the Family Room prepared as soon as possible. We’re committed to doing our part to address the families’ needs and concerns, and making a portion of our space available is just one of the ways we hope to contribute in the future."
Governor Pataki said, "This is a great day -- together with the modified opening of the Battery Tunnel, the transportation infrastructure of New York City is beginning its comeback with the effects of the reopening of West Street. The initial loss of this highway was devastating to all of the boroughs, and in particular, to the residents and businesses of Battery Park City, who were forced to take significant detour routes just to reach their homes and offices. The indoor Family Room is being created in response to family requests for more privacy and comfort during this incredibly difficult time. We will continue to work with the families to ensure that their needs are met in every way they can be."
Mayor Bloomberg said, "I want to thank LMDC Chairman Whitehead and President Tomson for working with the Mayor's Office to respond to the needs of the families to create a comfortable indoor location for them to come and view the site. As families continue to cope with the pain resulting from September 11th, there is now an additional place for them to come and view the site with privacy and dignity."
President Tomson said, "I am pleased that we were able to work with the Governor and the Mayor to provide a private, respectful setting where families can observe the site. I want to thank Brookfield Properties for being so accommodating and devoting time and resources to make the Family Room possible."
Christy Ferer, the Mayor’s Liaison to the Families and member of LMDC’s Families Advisory Council, said, "The victims’ families want to stay as close to the site for as long as possible, particularly during the sensitive period of recovery. I think it is wonderful how sensitive the Mayor has been to the needs and concerns of the families. He implemented a system for the family platform, and now with the cooperation of the Governor and the LMDC, he is making sure the families have some degree of comfort. I thank him from the bottom of my heart."
The Mayor's Office will use the same protocol for access to the Family Room as is currently used at the Family Viewing Platform at Liberty and West Streets, although more details will be released next week. The Family Room will be open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 9 pm, and on weekends and holidays, from 8 am to 6 pm. Family members are encouraged to bring their P or T numbers. The children’s area is being made possible by a generous donation from Toys "R" Us and Castro Convertibles, Inc. has generously donated tables, chairs and couches to create a comfortable sitting area.