New York – Ground Zero hardhats are hitting the hard stuff at lunch -- guzzling beers and shots at nearby bars before stumbling back to their dangerous jobs on the hallowed site, the New York Post reported Sunday.
With cost overruns crossing the $2 billion mark and the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, some reckless workers were seen on midday breaks last week filling their bellies with enough booze to become legally drunk.
The men then stumbled back to the site, where workers have reached the 78th floor of 1 World Trade Center as they attempt to build a virtually indestructible skyscraper.
Construction is now in a delicate phase that demands clear-headed concentration, with crews ascending to the upper floors of the 1,776-foot (541m) Tower 1 and 947-foot (288m) Tower 4 as part of a furious, round-the-clock schedule to complete four buildings, a transit hub and a memorial.
The Post spotted two dozen workers stream north from the site each day about 11:45am and pack two Murray Street watering holes for their hour-long lunch breaks -- the same pub pilgrimage hardhats were making two years ago from Ground Zero.
Once again, many skipped food entirely in favor of liquid refreshments -- including bottles of beer, shots of whiskey and -- in the case of one wasted worker -- a pint glass nearly full of vodka.
When the workers left the bar, they headed back to the worksite and passed through a security gate adorned with a sign that read "Safety First" and, "Our #1 priority is to send our workers home safe to their families!" Once inside, they walked south to Tower 4, a 72-story high-rise at 150 Greenwich St that's about half finished.
Experts say four to five drinks in an hour is enough for a 200lb (90kg) man to blow a .10 -- more than the state's legal limit of .08 -- on a Breathalyzer even with a full meal in his stomach.
None of the workers at one of the bars ordered food.