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Shea Stadium open to World Trade Center rescue workers

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Shea Stadium, which is home to the New York Mets, has been transformed into a staging area for firefighters and others rescue workers to get meals and have a place to rest before going back to the site of the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center.

As of Thursday afternoon, food had been served to more than 1,000 rescue workers since 7 p.m. Wednesday. Volunteers at Shea said it seemed as if the firefighters and others were reluctant to leave the scene of Tuesday's assault on the Twin Towers.

Matt Whittle, who works for the Mets, said he would like the word spread to firefighters, police, Emergency Service workers and civilian volunteers that Shea is ready to offer help.

Cots were set up inside Gates D and E, with plenty of water and juice available there, too, but no one was taking advantage of the temporary refuge Thursday afternoon.

Around the corner at Gate B, Aramark food service workers and Red Cross volunteers had been serving hot food around the clock since Wednesday evening.

Carmen Coppola and Mariela Reyes, both from Corona, had been at the Aramark Wednesday and returned Thursday and both were missing friends who worked in the World Trade Center.

Reyes said eight of her friends - including her closest friend - worked in the Twin Towers and were still unaccounted for Thursday.

"I'm been so depressed," Reyes said. "I can't eat today."

Many of the Red Cross volunteers are students at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, which remained closed Wednesday. The school is just a few blocks north of where the World Trade Center used to be and many students witnessed its destruction.

"We saw the whole thing," said Shu Lin, a Stuyvesant student from Flushing. "Most of us saw the second plane hit. We saw people jumping from the buildings."

Lin and other students said they were glad to help on their days off from school and wished they could do more.

Shea is accepting donations of new clothing, snack food, blankets, rain gear, saline solution and other items. As of Thursday afternoon, volunteers were not needed at Shea.

To make a financial donation to the Red Cross, please call 1-800-514-5103 or go to www.nyredcross.org. To receive crisis or grief counseling from the Red Cross please call (212) 889-6652.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 138.

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