A Local Organization Steps Up to Help Ground Zero Recovery Workers Get Supplies

    • February 1, 2003

The Art Science Research Laboratory provided equipment and supplies for recovery workers deployed at Ground Zero in Manhattan and the Fresh Kills landfill site in Staten Island after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.

The Art Science Research Laboratory, based in lower Manhattan and co-directed by artist Rhonda Roland Shearer and her late husband, Harvard University biologist and best-selling author Stephen Jay Gould, is a not-for-profit organization that promotes cross-disciplinary research in the arts and sciences.

Key Results

  • The all-volunteer staff turned the project director's art studio (which was less than a mile from Ground Zero) into a warehouse for supplies. They also bought trucks and created a supply route to all posts around the disaster site, and visited the site often to find out what supplies the workers needed.

  • The research laboratory used the funds from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to provide authorized workers with equipment and to re-stock the four existing supply caches.

    It supplied approximately 2,700 workers from the FDNY, the New York Police Department Emergency Service Unit and the Port Authority Police Department with recovery tools (e.g., shovels, rakes and rebar cutters), clothing (e.g., rain suits, safety vests and work boots) and other supplies (e.g., respirators).

    Lt. Paul Brown, of FDNY Engine 290, said of the research laboratory's relief effort: "In many instances they quickly and efficiently provided urgently needed equipment and supplies under circumstances where the normal supply channels would have taken days or weeks. They also frequently have been able to provides supplies that are outside the abilities of federal, state and city agencies to provide."