A new Manhattan hotel is marketing its proximity to Ground Zero as a selling point and creating a stir among some trying to preserve the memory of those lost during the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
"(Cheryl Palmer, spokeswoman for the hotel’s parent company, is) marketing this as an opportunity to provide people a chance to celebrate," Ed Kowalski, a director of 9/11 Families for Secure America Foundation, said on Fox and Friends Saturday.
"One would have to ask what is it that is celebratory very specific to Ground Zero? We have to remember that Ground Zero is the final resting place of people who have never been found. We have members of our organization who have lost loved ones and have not received any part of their loved ones back."
The World Center Hotel, opened by Club Quarters Inc., is currently accepting reservations for its rooms that boast "floor-to-ceiling ‘window walls’" offering "unfettered views of the rising Freedom Tower and National 9/11 Memorial & Museum," the hotel’s Web site states.
In response to the controversy, the hotel issued this statement to Fox News: "We at the World Center Hotel reference our location on our website and in our marketing because our location is an important part of our hotel's identity. The World Center Hotel, being across from both the World Financial Center and the rising World Trade Center, was designed primarily for business travelers, but leisure travelers also appreciate our downtown location.
"Some guests may feel emotional about the proximity to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, however, and choose not to stay at our hotel. Others are encouraged that, after so many years, the site is finally being transformed into a fitting Memorial, and they want to see the progress being made there.
"Either reaction is entirely legitimate. We feel strongly that business and economic growth is good for our city, and that the rebirth of downtown New York City does not in any way diminish the remembrance of the tragic events of nearly nine years ago. We are very respectful of the emotions involved, and we share them. But, we are also proud to be a part of the long-term revitalization of Lower Manhattan."
Kowalski said the location is where 3,000 Americans lost their lives not a Disney ride, and added that celebrating or marketing the location should not happen when a fitting memorial is nowhere near complete and the country has not taken all of the recommended steps for improving security.
"Are we celebrating the fact that nine years after those attacks we are still not implementing the 9/11 Commission's report?" he said.
NewsCore contibuted to this report.