Eight years after 9/11, lower Manhattan residents are bracing for their lives to be disrupted again, now that the five alleged terrorist bombers will stand trial only feet from their homes.
Expect nearby streets and subway stations to be shut down, increased bag searches and snipers on the rooftops when “the gang of five” is tried at the federal courthouse at 500 Pearl Street, in as soon as a month.
“When you can’t move freely in your own neighborhood, it’s devastating,” said John Ost, 47, who lives a few blocks south of the federal courthouse.
In the months after 9/11, he lived with police checkpoints and armed soldiers on the sidewalk.
“And they’re going to lock us down again,” said Ost. “We’re going to have AK-47s on every corner.”
Others say the 9/11 trial puts everyone who lives and works in lower Manhattan at risk.
“Federal Plaza is right here, City Hall is here, there is the Brooklyn Bridge, a playground right across the street from the courthouse,” said Jeanie Chin, who lives next door to the federal court. “Isn’t it possible a terrorist would try to make a statement here?”