In the frequently contentious debate over Ground Zero, the Vesey Street stairs generated an especially heated conflict.
For hundreds of workers who managed to escape the World Trade Center complex on Sept. 11, 2001, the two flights of stairs were a cherished symbol. The stairs had led them from the site’s elevated plaza, away from the collapsing buildings and falling debris, to the relative safety of the streets beyond. In the words of one survivor, “They were the path to freedom.”
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