3 March 2002


see also: Port Authority Takes Steps to Protect Migratory Birds Around World Trade Center


Bird Lovers: Tower Tribute A Winged Worry

By Clemente Lisi and Ed Robinson

The New York Post

March 1, 2002 -- The New York City Audubon Society is worried that the "Tribute of Light" memorial to the World Trade Center victims will result in "many birds plunging to their deaths."

"We're afraid migrating birds will swarm around the lights and fly around them until they get exhausted," said Todd Fiorentino, executive director of the bird-protection group.

"This could lead many birds to die."

The temporary memorial that will shine over the city's skyline consists of two 50-foot banks of 7,000-watt lights - beaming upward in the shape of the towers - on a Battery Park City lot.

The memorial, sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society, will shine from March 11 - the six-month mark of the terror attacks - to April 13.

The beams will be on every night from dusk to 11 p.m.

Fiorentino said TV cameras would be hooked up to monitor the site through the Internet in case "many birds start flocking to the area."

The arts group has agreed to douse the lights if migrating birds start falling from the sky.

Fiorentino pointed out the Twin Towers used to be monitored for bird impacts because of their lights. "This should be no different," he said.

Matthew Traub, a spokesman for the Municipal Arts Society, said, "We are sensitive to the issues raised by the Audubon Society and we have worked with them to address their concerns." Mayor Bloomberg said the beams would be shut off when it's cloudy so light doesn't spill into surrounding apartments.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said the lights will also be turned off if they interfere with helicopter traffic.

Meanwhile, victims' families, at a meeting of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. last night, reached a consensus on a memorial plan to be in place by March 11.

In addition to the "Tribute of Light," a bronze sphere that was recovered from the trade center site will be displayed in Battery Park City near the family viewing platform that overlooks Ground Zero.

Community Board 1 will meet tonight to discuss the plan.