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Edward
October 18th, 2002, 07:03 PM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
Customs develops a fear of heights
By DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF
Friday, October 18th, 2002

Wimps.
The U.S. Customs Service, which lost its home at 6 World Trade Center on Sept. 11, has not moved back downtown because it's now afraid of tall buildings.

The agency's fear of heights was spelled out yesterday at a City Council subcommittee, as Customs brass admitted they were "avoiding high-rise office space."

"We did not look for space much higher than the 11th floor," explained Susan Mitchell, director of field operations for Customs, whose 750 WTC employees have been scattered throughout the region, including New Jersey, since the attacks.

"Frankly," she added, "I am having a hard time getting employees to go to the 11th floor."

The agency's ongoing acrophobia left some City Council members flabbergasted.

"That's outrageous," said City Councilman Alan Gerson, a Democrat who represents lower Manhattan from his 20th-floor apartment. "I mean, people live in lower Manhattan, children grow up in lower Manhattan - all above the 11th floor.

"It's more of an excuse than anything else," Gerson added.

The peculiar restriction came to light as the agency - which has recently talked internally of abandoning New York for a new, permanent facility in Newark - reversed course and announced its long-term "intentions" to build a new Customs House in lower Manhattan.

'Symbolic office'

In the short-term, agency Commissioner Robert Bonner informed Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that he would explore the possibility "of establishing a small and somewhat symbolic office in lower Manhattan."

"This letter is the first good sign from Customs," Schumer told The News yesterday. "It at least indicates an intent to find space downtown, but we have a long way to go."

A recent survey by realtors Cushman & Wakefield found some 25 available offices in downtown Manhattan that could meet the agency's needs - although it wasn't clear how many were above the 11th floor.

enzo
October 21st, 2002, 04:13 AM
Pussies ;). *Hmmm, I wonder if this really has to do with fear or that most of their employees live in the burbs and would rather drive to work?

The solution is simple (but illegal), fire everyone who refuses to return dt and hire only NYC residents! We need the jobs.

Fabb
October 21st, 2002, 09:54 AM
What's with the number 11 ?
Well, why don't they look for a secure place in a basement for instance ?

NYatKNIGHT
October 21st, 2002, 11:17 AM
This is insane. Clearly some high-maintenance officials at the Customs Agency knows which buttons to push to get attention.

The U.S. Customs Service.....has not moved back downtown because it's now afraid of tall buildings.

How does an entire agency have a fear of heights? All it takes is one top brass official to let his/her fears be known that they don't feel comfortable working high up in a building, and..."Frankly," she added, "I am having a hard time getting employees to go to the 11th floor." Of course you are, you started a mass panic.

You go to the 11th floor if your job is there, and if you don't want to then you need to find a job elsewhere. I know plenty of people who worked at or adjacent to the WTC who have been back to work for months in tall skyscrapers. Funny that this entire agency can't seem to get back to it while everyone else can - especially since the building they used to work in was not even tall.

Give them the Tweed Courthouse.