9/11 Memorial Glade Opens in May 2019

The much-anticipated 9/11 Memorial Glade will be opening this spring, seventeen years to the day after the Ground Zero recovery mission officially ended.

Michael Arad, who designed part of the original 9/11 Memorial, has also designed the Glade. The Glade is primarily dedicated to 9/11 survivors and those who are sick or have died from exposure to the toxins in the aftermath of 9/11. About 400,000 New Yorkers were exposed to toxic smoke and dust on September 11, yet only about a fourth of them have stepped forward to claim needed benefits.


The Original Zadroga Act

In the immediate wake of the attack, several lawmakers introduced several different bills. The uncoordinated efforts went nowhere. Then, in 2009, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) introduced the Zadroga Act.

This proposal was not just a resurrected Victims Compensation Fund, the first law designed to compensate 9/11 victims. Instead, the Zadroga Act was a comprehensive piece of legislation that offered long-term solutions. Noted attorney Paul J. Napoli, who watched in horror as the Twin Towers collapsed down the street from his office, strongly supported the Zadroga Act and lobbied U.S. Congress to pass this important piece of legislation.

Former President Barack Obama signed the Zadroga Act into law in 2011. Fittingly, this law is named for James Zadroga, who was a 9/11 emergency responder who inhaled toxic fumes at Ground Zero and subsequently died. His ordeal illustrated the need for even longer-term medical help. More on that below.


Paul Napoli and the 9/11 Memorial

Victim compensation is important, and so is preserving moments for future generations. So, at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we are dedicated to injury victims as well as the New York community.

In 2003, noted architects Peter Walker and Michael Arad created preliminary designs for a planned 9/11 memorial. Even before officials selected their entry from some 5200 other ones, their design struck a chord with Paul Napoli.

At that time, lawmakers were reluctant to compensate victims. So, Paul knew that these same politicians would definitely not foot the entire bill for a memorial. She knew fundraising was necessary, but she was reluctant to step away from full-time victims’ compensation efforts. Paul J. Napoli’s tenacity and passion convinced himself to pour his efforts into the memorial.

To date, over 37 million people have visited the 9/11 memorial to remember, reflect, and gain strength for the fights ahead.


Paul J. Napoli and Jimmy Nolan’s Law

The work did not end with the Zadroga Act. In a way, Jimmy Nolan represented the forgotten 9/11 victims, and Paul J. Napoli has dedicated much of his career to these forgotten victims.

Jimmy Nolan was an NYU carpenter who voluntarily assisted at Ground Zero. Like James Zadroga, he contracted a fatal lung disease from toxic smoke. But unlike Mr. Zadroga, Mr. Nolan could not obtain compensation through the 9-11 Victim’s Compensation Fund, because the deadline had passed. S.B. 3325-B/A.B. 7122-C extended the claims deadline, to give people like Jimmy a fair chance to obtain compensation for their injuries.

Again, Paul fought on behalf of WTC-injured workers, residents, and office workers for Jimmy Nolan’s Law.  In June 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinstated Jimmy Nolan’s law.


Zadroga Act Reauthorization

The toxic smoke and dust contained asbestos levels that were four times higher than normal. Asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma (lung cancer) and asbestosis (severely scarred lungs) often take decades to develop. When the Zadroga Act expired in 2015, Paul J. Napoli and Marie Napoli knew there was a serious problem. There would be no money available for these future victims.

So, the firm pushed for Zadroga Act reauthorization. It took time, but Congress eventually relented and extended 9/11 injury benefits until 2090. That sounds like a long time, but since the mesothelioma incubation period can be 40 years and asbestos fibers are still floating in the Manhattan air, future victims need every moment of that extension.


Napoli Law and the 9/11 Memorial Glade

Whereas the original memorial was dedicated to immediate victims, the Glade is dedicated to secondary victims, like James Zadroga and Jimmy Nolan, as well as 9/11 survivors. That makes it a very fitting tribute.

Six huge granite monoliths are the centerpiece of the glade, which is a serene space composed of trees and grass. This park-like area sits atop the 9/11 Museum, which is seven stories underground.

9/11 victims need substantial compensation to deal with mesothelioma and other debilitating illnesses. If you have questions regarding filing a Zadroga Claim, we encourage you to contact our office for a free consultation today.