The W Hotel at Union Square, one of the trendiest hotels in New York City, projected a different image for several weeks after the World Trade Center attacks.
Located just a couple of miles from Ground Zero, the hotel provided help and housing to people fleeing the scene. It opened its ballroom to offer first aid, water, food, phones and television.
For the first few weeks after the attacks, temporarily homeless former residents of Battery Park City - a huge luxury housing complex that once had some of the best views of the city -started moving into the hotel as the previous guests checked out; they paid whatever they could, which ranged from $5 a night to $350 a night, said Sarah Stettinius, spokeswoman for the Multi-Employer Property Trust, which owns the hotel.
"We told the hotel managers to do whatever it took to help out. We felt it was worth taking any loss, and were proud of what they did," Ms. Stettinius.
As the days passed, the hotel offered other services to the community, including organizing an ice drive for the Red Cross and providing meals for the neighborhood, as well as shampoo and soap for rescue workers.
MEPT renovated the former Guardian Life Insurance Co. building as a hotel and opened W there in December 2000. MEPT is a commingled real estate fund that finances projects using 100% union labor. Currently, there are more than 177 Taft-Hartley plans invested in the fund.%