NEW YORK —?A crowd of several dozen residents of Chinatown and the Lower East Side gathered outside a state office building in Manhattan Wednesday to complain that $1.2 billion in federal funds allocated to help their neighborhoods recuperate from the Sept. 11, 2001, destruction of the World Trade Center is being improperly used.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, parts of Manhattan below Canal Street were closed to traffic for weeks as a security measure. This resulted in many Chinatown garment factories going out of business and many area residents missing weeks of work.
The demonstrators complained that the intent of Congress in providing the recovery funding was to help people living below 14th Street whose lives and work were disrupted by the attacks. Currently, the residential grants — ranging from $750 to $6,000 — are only available to those living below Delancey Street.
They called on New York Gov. George E. Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno to block a proposal by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to use $1.2 billion in remaining funds to help finance the construction of moderate-income units within a luxury-housing complex further downtown.
“Gov. Pataki did not respond to our request to use the leftover money to build low-income housing in our community,” said unemployed Chinatown resident Ling Bin.
— Scott Malone