DECEMBER 22, 21:59 ET

Viewing Platforms Planned at WTC

By DEEPTI HAJELA
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.