DECEMBER 22, 21:59 ET

Viewing Platforms Planned at WTC

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) The city has started building public viewing platforms around the World Trade Center terrorist attack site to give visitors a vantage point.

``I think people should be able to see just how devastating it was,'' Phil Clark, 45, of Greenwich, Conn., said Saturday as he stood with his family on a corner a block from the site. ``I think they have to see it.''

But not everyone agreed the platforms would serve that purpose, since the debris of the leveled trade center is rapidly being cleared away.

``It will look like a construction site, not a destruction site,'' said Kathy Smith, 55, of New Providence, N.J. ``In order to appreciate the destruction you had to see it when there was something there. Now it's just a hole.''

One platform is under construction on Fulton Street, south of St. Paul's Chapel, the gates of which are covered with memorial messages and have become a popular destination for visitors.

Three more of the 13-foot-high platforms are planned around the site, The New York Times reported Saturday.

``I think it's a good idea, we have a right to see it,'' said Chris Williams, 16, of Washington, D.C., visiting for the day with his family. ``It's a part of history.''

It's better that the platforms are going up now rather than earlier, after bodies have been recovered, said Tracy Brooks, 27, of Kansas City, Kan.

``I don't think there should be a platform while they're carrying people's bodies out ... They need to be respectful of the site as a burial ground,'' she said.