A Different Kind Of Monument To9/11

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NEW YORK - (01/06/06) -- When the latest entry to this city'spanoply of restaurants opened Thursday it represented a new kind ofmonument to the victims of 9/11. That's because the owners ofColors, a multi-ethnic eatery in Greenwich, a short walk fromGround Zero, are all former employees of Windows on the World, thefamous restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center thatperished on that infamous day. The owners of the new venturesurvived the perilous terrorist attacks of 9/11 only because theywere not at work that day--unlike their 73 co-workers who were allkilled when the well-known landmark was destroyed. The Colorswaiters, busboys, bartenders, chefs and dishwashers all have anownership stake in the cooperative venture that was financed by agroup of area lenders, including Lower East Side People's FCU,which used some of the grant money obtained from the World TradeCenter Business Recovery Loan Program to help finance therestaurant. "We thought, 'what a great project to use the(funds),'" Walter Merkle, chief lending officer for the CDCU, toldThe Credit Union Journal. "Our role was to bridge the fundinggap.” The capital was made available from repayments from a$300,000 grant provided to Lower East Side People's FCU from theEmpire State Development Organization used to fund World TradeCenter recovery loans. The new restaurant is one of more than adozen local projects the credit union financed with the 9/11 grant.Under the cooperative plan, the workers will own 20% of the ventureand everyone will earn at least $13.50 an hour, double the minimumwage for New York restaurant workers.

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