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NYC to Issue Free WTC Site Tickets

January 9, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ The line of people solemnly waiting outside in the cold to see the ruins of the World Trade Center is frequently so long that the city has decided to issue tickets to the viewing platform.

The free tickets would allow up to 250 people on the platform for a half hour at a time.

``There were just too many people who couldn’t get on the platform. They were waiting shivering in the cold,″ Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. ``We’re just trying to do something to make it easier for people who are trying to pay their respects.″

The tickets will be available at the South Street Seaport Museum’s ticket booth, about seven blocks from the trade center site, officials said. Tickets will be required beginning Wednesday.

The 13-foot-high wooden viewing platform, which is the first of a planned four, opened on Dec. 30. Despite bitter cold in recent weeks, thousands of people line up every day and wait up to three hours to climb onto the platform.

There have been concerns that the platforms will transform what should be hallowed ground into a tourist attraction. But Stephen White, who waited in line to enter the platform Tuesday evening, disagreed.

``I don’t see it as a tourist site,″ the West Kingston, R.I., resident said. ``It has a tourist aspect, but that’s not the point. We’re here to come and pay our respects and go home.″

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