Ground Zero Has a Booze Problem

By McCarton Ackerman 08/07/12

After several accidents, NYC cracks down on workers drinking at WTC construction site.

"Vodka and steel beams don't mix."
Photo via

It would seem obvious that you should never drink while operating heavy machinery, but the Port Authority in NYC apparently needed to address that exact issue. In light of several incidents of construction accidents at the Ground Zero site and daytime drinking among workers, the agency is cracking down on workday drinking by upping the budget for its inspector general and adding undercover investigators to the unit. More than 20 workers have already lost their credentials, and it won't stop there. “Look, vodka and steel beams and a construction site don’t mix,” says Port Authority chief Pat Foye. “We are not going to tolerate it. This has been a longtime problem in the construction industry. But this is the most complicated construction project anywhere.” In February, 40 tons of steel crashed 40 stories to the ground, followed by an incident last June where a worker was impaled on a length of steel after falling five feet. Just one day after that, glass rained down on the street after a beam crashed into windows 46 stories up. All of the incidents occurred at 4 WTC, one of the towers being built alongside 1 WTC, nicknamed "The Freedom Tower." It's unclear if the incidents were drinking related, but the Port Authority is refusing to take any chances. “There is no place at the World Trade Center for risky or irresponsible behavior of any kind,” says Bud Perrone, a spokesman for the developer, Silverstein Properties.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.