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9/11 anniversary: New York remembers

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Author Topic: 9/11 anniversary: New York remembers  (Read 836 times)
Crystal Thielkien
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« on: September 11, 2011, 07:51:08 pm »

In the past week, it has experienced a spike in hate mail, says its associate director Jennie Goldstein.

But in a show of unity, and following a plea from President Barack Obama for Americans to use the anniversary to do acts of service, it has thrown open its doors and about 40 volunteers from places as diverse as Scotland, Sudan and Kansas have helped to give the place a makeover.

Back in Lower Manhattan, a 10-minute walk from the World Trade Center site, Minas Polychronakis is sitting out the front of his shoe repair business on Wall Street, warmly greeting passing customers.

He arrived in the US from Crete in 1969 with $138 and no English. After starting life on American soil as a dishwasher, he soon had his own shoe business.

He was one of the first tenants in the World Trade Center in 1976.

Twenty-five years later, along with an estimated 750 other companies, he lost his premises under a pile of rubble, while friends and customers lost their lives.

The district became a ghost town and he nearly lost his business, he says, but he felt a loyalty to the neighbourhood and refused to relocate uptown.

Years later, business is picking up again, but the 70-year-old is determined to be back in the World Trade Center when it reopens in 2013, and won't hear talk of retirement.

"I have to go back there," he says. "I spent 25 years there, so it will feel like going home."
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