New Yorkers greet news of local trials for alleged 9/11 attackers with mixed emotions

Darlene Spell lived out the horror of the Sept. 11 attack, losing 96 co-workers in the World Trade Center’s South Tower.

News that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind, and his alleged co-conspirators would be brought to trial just blocks away made Spell feel powerless.

“The government is the one making the choice,” said Spell, 48, of Harlem. “If it was up to the people, they wouldn’t be coming back. We vote on everything else.”

Bob Gelbert, who has lived in nearby South Street Seaport for 29 years, was not as troubled by the location of the civilian trial. He had watched terrified from his office as the Twin Towers collapsed across the street.

“After living through all that uncertainty — and I witnessed that day — this other stuff doesn’t bother me that much,” Gelbert, 57, said. “Good things have happened since then. … The neighborhood has been built back up.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has sought to calm fears and emphasized that terrorism trials, including that of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, have been held in New York before. “I have great confidence that the NYPD, with federal authorities, will handle security expertly,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Some New Yorkers yesterday said security wasn’t their main concern.

Instead, it is the crush of police, U.S. marshals and other personnel slated to descend on the city that worried Darsharay Sore, 37.

“It’s not the security at all,” said the upper Manhattan resident. “It’s the traffic. I hate that they tie everything up.”

emily.ngo@am-ny.com

Tags: Sept. 11 attack , Sept. 11 , New York , Khalid Sheik Mohammed , NYPD , security

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