New York Recovers
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BETTY ANN BOWSER: New York City officials today continued to call efforts at the World Trade Center site a rescue and recovery mission. 15 must bodies have been found, 18 more victims have been identified. But more than 5, 400 people are still missing. Late this morning members of the public were allowed to get even closer to what’s left of the World Trade Center. Even though it’s been more than a week since anyone has been found alive, they stood on Maiden Lane just one block away and stared in disbelief. Some snapped pictures; some just looked up. At the other end of made Maiden Lane National Guardsmen stood watch while the sound of patriotic music blared from a speaker. And in between the two end of the street there was a business world of uncertainty. Almost everyone on this tiny downtown block made their living from the tens of thousands of people who worked in the World Trade Center. Now most are closed. White ash is everywhere and when the UPS truck comes to deliver, sometimes there is no one there to receive it. A few hundred yards away from the site the Health Exchange Restaurant delivered more than 1,000 meals a week to clients in the twin towers: Corporate accounts like Cantor Fitzgerald, Dean Witter. The owners are still trying to wash await mess hoping to reopen soon. But they’re worried about losses.
MARCELLO ADUGO, Restaurant Owner: In product alone it must have been over $10,000. We’re coming up with a list for the insurance company — it’s going to be over– it’s probably more than what we’re covered for.
ALEX FERKOV, Restaurant Owner: It’s not only that, but we have rent to pay, utilities we have to pay, loans we have to pay and on and on and on. And we have to look into all of that, you know, what’s covered, we have to talk to the building see what they’ll do about the rent. Obviously we can’t pay the same rent as we were paying before because our customer base isn’t there.
ALEX FERKOV: All of this will go out.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: After 13 years in business Alex and his partner finished a half million expansion and now they’re trying to figure out how it pay that money back.
MARCELLO ADUGO: We have too much money invested and can’t go anywhere else and walk away from it because the place wasn’t physically damaged; the building is not condemned. So we have no choice.
FRANK SALERNO: Sugar in the coffee?
BETTY ANN BOWSER: A few doors down on Maiden Lane Frank Salerno was open again for business. But the clientele has changed — no longer businessmen in suits. Today it was construction workers, police, firemen. And Salerno had some heady challenges getting the restaurant back in business.
FRANK SALERNO: Couldn’t even drive in. I would come in with five, six dozen bagels, bialys and stuff, on a train, walk it from the subway station to here and set up and try and get ready. We took ten gallons of milk in two suitcases on the train with us because we couldn’t get anything in.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: And like all of the other small business owners on Maiden Lane Salerno is taking things one day at a time.
FRANK SALERNO: Who knows what will happen tomorrow? I mean this morning they closed off Nassau Street for a while because of a suspicious car down the block, so who knows? We’re open today; we might not be open tomorrow.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Hundreds of people passed through Maiden Lane today. And there was no uncertainty about the messages that they left behind.