The Port Authority Responds
Your Sept. 11 article on the World Trade Center security command center
contained what we believe are serious inaccuracies that could have been avoided
had we been given a voice in the article ["Control Center Chaos," News]. Your
readers, and the families and friends of those who perished on Sept. 11,
deserve to know the facts:
The article states that "every third or fourth floor in the towers had 'no
re-entry' doors, locked from the stairwell side, which could be unlocked
electronically." The stairwell doors in the Twin Towers were not controlled by
electronic security locks, with one exception. All doors leading into the
stairwells from every occupied floor were unlocked. Once within the stairwells,
clear, glow-in-the-dark signs identified every third or fourth floor as a
"re-entry" floor, in full compliance with city code. The signs stated the
nearest floors above and below that were unlocked. None of these doors were
The only doors with electronic controls were the relative few that led to
high-security areas, such as mechanical equipment rooms, elevator machine rooms
and the roof, which were controlled by electronic-card access. Outside each of
these doors was a push-button intercom system connected to live operators in
the security command center.
The story also reports that a security supervisor said an automated
recording in Tower One (the North Tower) advised building occupants to stay in
their offices. There were no automated announcements used anywhere in the World
Trade Center, as such recordings are not permitted by fire codes. (The only
permitted exception was a recording used as part of the elevator intercom
system, which responded to a push of the alarm button with a message that the
call had been received and advising the car's occupants to stand by for a live
operator.) Moreover, no messages of any kind - live or otherwise - could be
heard over Tower One's public address system, which was severed by the impact
of the first plane. An announcement suggesting it was safe to return to offices
was made by a live human being in Tower Two only, and it was made before
anyone knew or had any idea that a second plane was about to hit that building.
Safety was paramount at the World Trade Center, especially following the
1993 terrorist bombing. Fire drills were mandatory and well-rehearsed, and many
safety and security upgrades were made following 1993. Although no one could
have anticipated the unthinkable tragedy that struck on Sept. 11, all those
preparations were not in vain. Combined with the heroism of hundreds of brave
building personnel and rescuers, these measures did have an impact in helping
tens of thousands escape to safety.
Editor's Note: The writer is deputy director of the Aviation Department for the
World Trade Department. Oceanside
Whose Merit Gets the Pay?
I'm a teacher on the front lines every day with my students. When their
grades improve and they pass a Regents exam, it's largely due to the number of
hours I have put in preparing lessons, marking papers and tutoring after
school. Why should a school superintendant receive a large bonus - a bonus
almost equal to my yearly salary - when grades go up ["Smarts Money," News,
Sept. 25]? What has that superintendant done?
Columnist Is Biased, Too
but these days he's an embarrassment to your paper and to our city.
Does he honestly believe the Bush administration doesn't care about New
York because of the large black and Jewish communities ["City Set Up for
Slaughter," News, Sept. 26]? Or is it because we have very little college
football? Instead of following his outlandish theory to some thought-provoking
conclusion, he uses the same hateful, biased mind-set that he accuses George W.
Bush of using when he refers to "low IQ states." So Washington thinks that New
York isn't important, and Jimmy Breslin thinks that no other place in the
world is important. Sounds as enlightening as a college-dorm argument.
Crossing the Line
The endorsement of Gov. George Pataki by former Borough President Claire
Shulman is a joke ["Democrat Shulman Endorses Pataki," News, Oct. 3]. His
budget experience hasn't helped get a budget on time - his lateness exceeds the
previous administration's. Andrew Cuomo was right: Pataki got pulled along
with Rudolph Giuliani. What has he really done for New York in eight years?
Shulman should remember she's a Democrat. I guess Ed Koch got to her.
Thanks a million to all you Mets fans out there, for your loyalty,
enthusiasm, fortitude, dignity, good humor and esprit de corps, throughout this
past season. This Diamond Club ticket taker envisions a great season in '03.
You gotta believe!