Surviving workers from Windows on the World start new restaurant

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A group of workers from Windows on the World have reopened a newly renovated restaurant that honors their friends who died in the World Trade Center.

At the restaurant COLORS on the Lower East Side, they gathered Wednesday, just as they have for 18 years - a family forever connected by 9/11.

The place was founded by surviving employees of the Windows on the World restaurant, which sat at the top of the World Trade Center's North Tower.

"We had the, I dunno the luck, of being on top of Manhattan," said Sol Policar. "Of looking down at one of the greatest cities in the world."

"I see those two towers in my mind and I look up and I know they are still there," said Krysztof Kossut. "My friends are there and those towers are still there in my memory."

The restaurant is a project by ROC United, or Restaurant Opportunities Centers.

It's a non-profit group that fights to increase wages and improve conditions for restaurant workers nationwide.

The workers believe this is the way to honor the legacy of the friends they lost that day.

"Amazing to see since 9/11 this Phoenix that has arisen from the ashes," said Saru Jayaraman "Over time the restaurant turned into a school. We've trained workers of color, formerly incarcerated individuals, immigrants, women to move up the ladder."

"Opening ROC, or starting the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, was like healing for me," said Fekkak Mamdouh, CEO and co-founder of ROC United. "Because we come and we gather and start talking. All the survivors and the families of the ones that we lost."

And while survivors carry out this shared mission, they will never forget "who" they're doing this for.

"I think they'd be very happy to know that we are all still gathering on their behalf," said David Kolotkin.

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