CNN BREAKING NEWS
Thousands of People Still Stranded at Penn Station in NYC
Aired August 15, 2003 - 08:02 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: To Penn station, one of the major transportation hubs in New York. Jason Carroll is taking the pulse over there.
Jason -- good morning. What do you have?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're still here at Penn Station, where thousands of people are basically in a holding pattern, still trying to figure out how they are going to make their way home.
If you take a look behind me, you can see here this is the Red Cross. They have been handing out coffee and Oreo cookies and granola bars. This is going to be breakfast for a lot of the people who were camped out here overnight.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimates that anywhere between 3,000 to 4,000 people camped out here overnight, many of them are still here. There are still more down the block on the other side there waiting for buses, trying to figure out a way to possibly hop on a bus and head out to Long Island.
Joining me right now are a couple of these people who camped out here, right out here on the sidewalk some of them last night. I've got Scott here from New Jersey, Steve is from Boston.
Scott, I'm going to start with you. What has this whole experience been like for you since yesterday?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's been something different. I wasn't here on 9/11. I work for a company, A-On (ph), that was in Tower Two, and a lot of people experienced a lot of things. So, it's been a long trek getting home, but we're safe and that's all that really matters. It seems like everything is moving forward.
CARROLL: What did you do for sleeping arrangements last night? What were you able to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We work downtown, as I said, and we went to our grandmothers up on 125th. So, it was a long trek.
CARROLL: So, at least you had a spot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we got there about 1:00 this morning.
CARROLL: OK. Steve, you're not so lucky, though, in terms of sleeping arrangements for you. You had to hang out here, correct? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Absolutely. I was downstairs in Penn Station, and very hot, the smoke diesel was atrocious. They have actually evacuated it twice just to try and air out something, open up some doors on both sides, get some cross-ventilation and then bring people back in. You know, you do this at 10:00 at night, then at 2:00 in the morning. It gets challenging to people.
CARROLL: You just got out of your meeting yesterday just at about 4:00. You're trying to head back to Boston. What are they telling you about your status?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trains, service from here to north, there is none at all. They have no service. They have no facilities. Also, they said go on down to the bus terminal, so I went on down to the Port Authority, and nothing.
CARROLL: Nothing there. So, what are your options, both of you, Scott, you as well. What are you looking at in terms of options in terms of trying to get home?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're trying to get to my place in New Jersey -- North Jersey Dover. And from there, I can get to my car and at least get home. I don't know what -- it sounds like maybe this (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I was just at the Port Authority and no buses are coming in.
CARROLL: And, Scott, you're going to try to rent a car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to try to rent a car, get a limo service, something to either take me up to Boston or take me up to somewhere north of here, and I can go from there.
CARROLL: All right, great. Well, maybe he can get a lift from you from Jersey. All right, thanks, gentlemen. Thank you both.
A very quick update for you here. We're told that Amtrak has limited service heading south to Washington, D.C.; also limited service on New Jersey Transit. As for the Long Island Railroad, at this point still no service. Still no word on how many of these people are going to get home.
HEMMER: All right, Jason Carroll, thanks. At Penn Station, Jason is monitoring things from there.
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