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Hotel Re-Opening a Symbol of Rebirth for Post 9-11 NYC - 2003-05-06

A hotel damaged in the 2001 terrorist attack in New York City has re-opened for business. Carol Pearson reports the opening was a cause for smiles, cheers and a few tears.

The governor of New York was on hand at the re-opening of the Millennium Hilton. So was New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“This hotel is just a symbol of what’s in store for New York City, for New York State and for this country and, I hope, for the world down the road.” The World Trade Center once stood nearby. After the attack in September, 2001, the structure of the Millennium Hotel was damaged and the rooms were filled with debris. After more than a year and a half off work, the staff was anxious to get back. Some, like housekeeper Ermina White were out of work the entire time.

“I just decided to wait because I knew we would be coming back.”

And how does it feel to be back?

“Great, I get to see a lot of old faces that I lost touch with during the 18 months that we’ve been away, so it’s just great to see everybody back.”

But there were also mixed emotions.

“When I look across and I see that the World Trade Center is no longer there, I am a bit sad because I lost a lot of friends in that building.”

Most of the hotel’s 565 rooms have a view of the construction now underway at the World Trade Center cite.

A room with this view is a major attraction according to Hilton Vice President Roger Swadish.

“Nearly 85 - 90 percent of our guests that call in for reservations have asked for rooms overlooking the renovation, rebuilding site, most of them for spiritual reasons or that other reason -to be part of history.” The renovation project cost 30 million dollars. The governor called the reopening of the Millennium Hilton “a symbol of the rebirth of confidence and energy… in the greatest city in the world.”