Skip to comments.Infamous Paterson, NJ, tenants all but forgotten (6 of the hijackers lived there)
Posted on 09/11/2005 1:16:49 PM PDT by Coleus
Infamous tenants all but forgotten
|Sunday, September 11, 2005|
PATERSON - Nothing about the run-down, three-story walkup above a cluttered bodega reveals anything about the murderous plot that some former tenants helped carry out four years ago.
The roaches in the hallways look the same, as do the sticky-sweet snacks sold downstairs. But most everything else around here is different.
The top-floor apartment has changed hands at least twice since Sept. 11, 2001, when the men who used to live there died along with nearly 3,000 other people in the terrorist attacks the men carried out against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The bodega where as many as six of the Sept. 11 hijackers bought orange juice and doughnuts has been sold. And business is good down the street at the travel agency where one of the men purchased his ticket to board the jet that crashed into the Pentagon.
Four years after Hani Hanjour, Salem and Nawaf Alhamzi, and Ahmed Alghamdi briefly called Paterson home, and others, including Sept. 11 mastermind Mohammed Atta, made stealthy purchases of plane tickets and identification cards here, this city is doing its best to forget them.
"Nobody talks about it here," said Manuel Luna, who six months ago bought the downstairs bodega.
It's a hardscrabble place where haggard-looking customers still come in, dump a fistful of change on the counter and totter off with single cigarettes. Luna knows little about the building's former tenants, and would just as soon never think of them again.
He's not alone. A half-dozen customers who visited one recent day were unaware the building had served as a hideout for some of the Sept. 11 hijackers. In the hallways of the apartment building, no one remembered the former tenants or was even aware of their notoriety.
Many here in Paterson, the heart of New Jersey's Arab-American community, bristle at the mere mention of the hijackers. They are quick to point out that Hanjour and the others took an apartment in a transient neighborhood composed largely of Hispanic and African-American renters, eschewing South Paterson's Arab enclave, where residents are keenly aware of who comes and goes.
"Those people were never really part of this neighborhood," said Hani Awadallah, president of the Arab-American Civic Organization, who has an office just down the street from a travel agency where Atta and five other hijackers bought identification cards two months before the attacks. At the agency, Atta also bought a plane ticket to Spain, where he met with other Islamic extremists.
"They chose to live way out of the Arab center," Awadallah said. "That way, they could move in and out.
"I never knew them," he added. "Neither did 99 percent of our community. And 60 to 70 percent of our community is not even aware they were here. When you tell them they [the hijackers] had lived here, they look at you in astonishment."
Montclair State University Chemistry Professor and President of the Arab-American Civic Organization, Dr. Hani Awadalla, I don't recall him ever decrying the terrorist attacks or those who danced in the streets of Paterson on 9-11-01.
Right.... And nobody in Patterson was celebrating in the streets on 9/11 either.
Yes, I remember that! Disgraceful! Arab punks in the street cheering while the trade centers collapsed! I hope other remember that too!
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