Post-Sandy Air Quality Concerns Remind Some Manhattan Residents Of September 11
When Hurricane Sandy roared into Lower Manhattan, it did more than flood buildings and knock out power. It also rattled nerves and stirred up difficult memories for longtime residents. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
On September 11, 2001, Julian Weissman rushed out of his apartment on 26 Beaver St to help people get inside, out of harm's way.
He said the air quality issues after the attacks eventually proved harmful for him.
"We came back here and brought approximately 20 people in because that was all black smoke," he said. "Every year after that, I've had lung infections, and then in 2010, I was diagnosed with cancer and had two surgeries back to back."
More than 10 years later, he said he is now fighting the same air quality issues in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He said huge generators placed in front of his home spew diesel fuel into the air.
"I have a history of asthma and then I got the lung cancer," he said. "Two doctors I know said to me, I came back and immediately felt ill and they said, 'There's no way, in your present condition, you can stay here unless you get very strong air filters.'"
Weissman said his family has spent $4,000 out of pocket for high-grade air filters.
Elyn Rosenthal also lived in the building on September 11th, and she said the large, noisy generators make her feel more vulnerable after sandy.
"I'm constantly being reminded that there is something that can be harming me," she said. "In a way, I felt safer after 9/11 because there is so much focus on the neighborhood. Now, the focus is different. The focus is on, I don't know what the focus is on, but it's not on getting us back to normal."
For Rosenthal and her neighbors, the goal now is simple.
"You want to be home, you want to feel safe in your home, and you're not safe," she said. I don't know that we're safe with what we're breathing."
Residents of 26 Beaver St said their building is powered by electricity, not by the generators. The generators are powering the commercial buildings nearby.