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Ground Zero Hotel Draws Criticism

Erin Ennis

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Cheryl Palmer, Vice President of Club Quarters Inc, thinks the World Center Hotel is not only a business investment, but a rebirth. Others of New York City find the hotel to be a terrible reminder of a tragedy the United States has yet to forget.

In this photo taken March 5, 2010, the World Center Hotel, far right, overlooks the World Trade Center construction site in New York. With rooms boasting views directly out on the construction, the hotel's proximity to the site of the Sept. 11 attacks is being used as a marketing tool. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Visitors to the World Center Hotel website might realize right away the purpose of the 169 room hotel. With glossy high resolution photographs of damage and destruction, the business owners of the World Center Hotel hope to attract much of the tourism industry that has surrounded the site of Ground Zero since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

For almost all guests, the stay at the hotel would be a 24 hour experience, with full views of the construction, soundproof windows to keep out most of the noise, and special curtains to drown the light reflecting off twisting pieces of metal and debris. Hallways would be decorated with pictures and memorials of the terrorist attacks and hotel patrons would have a chance to dine on a balcony overlooking most of the destruction. The aerial view will be one of the first times civilians will have the opportunity to actually see Ground Zero without obscuring fences.

The nearby Millenium Hilton, which was standing during the terrorist attacks nine years ago, has attempted to not use the attacks as a means of publicity and marketability.

General Manager Jan Larsen spoke out against the World Center Hotel in a recent interview. “People are sensitive to maybe being perceived as taking advantage of a tragedy by utilizing that in any kind of promotional information,” Larsen said. “We still get customers here who didn’t realize we were across the street from ground zero, and they get emotional about it.”

The owners of the World Center Hotel feel as if the building is a step in the right direction. Ground Zero, which has remained mostly untouched for the past nine years, will be home to trees and plants at the beginning of the 10th anniversary of the attacks. The memorial will open up in 2011. Freedom Tower is currently under construction. Changes are coming, and those in charge of the World Center Hotel feel their business is just another change.

A Baltimore salesman interviewed by The Associated Press about the issue said, “You could say it’s depressing, but you could also say it’s been nine years, the Freedom Tower is going up and there’s going to be a memorial. We’re looking toward the future.” Cheryl Palmer added, “They will have all those mixed emotions. But I think at the end of the day what people leave here with is the rebuilding.”

With costs as low as 179 dollars on weekdays and 99 dollars on weekends, many feel the new hotel will draw in at least 4,000 visitors at a given time. Reservations have now opened online despite continued disputes amongst the New York community. Only time will tell if the World Center Hotel will be a shimmer of hope amidst the damage that is ground zero or another terrible mark on New York’s history.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
Ground Zero Hotel Draws Criticism