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[media-credit name=”Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds” align=”aligncenter” width=”600″][/media-credit]BY ALINE REYNOLDS | Construction workers at Ground Zero have a holiday perk for which to be grateful: a pre-Thanksgiving dinner provided by developer Larry Silverstein.
Around noon last Friday, Nov. 18, close to 1,000 W.T.C. construction workers, architects and other Ground Zero employees convened in the future lobby of 4 W.T.C. to enjoy a barbequed-themed feast provided by W.T.C. Developer Larry Silverstein. It was the second year that the developer provided the workers with the perk.
Big Daddy’s caterers from Long Island dished out the food, which consisted of turkey sub sandwiches in honor of Thanksgiving as well as burgers, hot dogs, and coleslaw.
Silverstein commented on the event, saying, “This is the time of year when our thoughts turn to family and friends. Our Thanksgiving lunch is a nice way to [recognize] the men and women who do so much day in and day out to rebuild the site, and thank them for all of their hard work in getting the job done.”
Some of the workers lined up at the grill at 11:30 a.m., just when the cooks were finishing preparations of the feast, while others swung by an hour later to grab a bite and head back to work. Many expressed gratitude for the hard-earned meal, and for having the rare-but-welcome opportunity to put names to familiar faces among co-workers.
“It was very nice and thoughtful of whoever organized it,” said Francis Munro, a carpenter for 3 W.TC. “You get to talk to friends, mingle and exchange ideas.”
Richie Tiberi, a spray proofing contractor for W.T.C. 3, 4 and the National Sept. 11 Memorial, fondly reflected on last year’s Thanksgiving meal on the site, when he got to shake hands with Silverstein.
“I even got to have a nice picture with my friend, Mr. Silverstein!” said Tiberi, grinning.
The luncheon, Tiberi said, is advantageous in that it “brings everybody out of the offices and gets them down to the field level.”
Indeed, W.T.C. personnel that work offsite made an appearance at the luncheon, such as Volodymyr Gogol, a junior architect of 4 W.T.C.
“It’s nice to meet more of the people I’m working with to get this done,” said Tiberi. “I meet only a handful when I go on site.”
Mike Perrone, a foreman for the W.T.C. Transportation Hub, said the meal was a perfect way to break up the monotony of the workday.
“You don’t usually see all the men at the same time,” added Perrone.
Though he had to work through part of lunch to correct deficiencies in the the rebar of W.T.C. 2, Concrete Inspector Calvin Perez finagled a 20-minute lunch break to enjoy the barbeque.
“Every time you can get all these guys who work so hard to come together as one and just enjoy each other’s company and have good food, is always a great time,” said Perez.
The feast beat Perez’s usual lunch options such as Papa John’s Pizza or Subway. “Usually when you go eat somewhere around here, you don’t get the same fresh, off-the-grill hot dogs and burgers,” he said.
Thea Ellis, a laborer for Tower 4, said feasting with her co-workers was one of the many things she had to be thankful for this year. “It’s a good thing to give the workers a chance to relax and come together as one,” she said. “On a big job like this, it’s important.”