01/10/2002 AT 12:44 PM EST
New York has a new sightseeing draw: Ground Zero. And a new system to see it: tickets. To accommodate the crowds, who at first were dissuaded from visiting the site, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced that a viewers' platform would be erected, so the busloads of the curious could see the after-effects of the Sept. 11 attack. But once the Fulton Street platform was up and operating on Dec. 30, the lines winding around Broadway in Lower Manhattan became unmanageable. The new remedy, put into effect this week, are time-stamped tickets available at the nearby South Street Seaport. The tickets are free. "It beats waiting in line -- definitely," Boston University student Adam Zaremba, 19, told New York's Daily News. "Now you know exactly what time you should go." The ticket booth is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Viewing times are assigned, and visitors cannot request specific hours. Same-day tickets are handed out in order for each half-hour period. When those are gone, says the News, tickets for the next morning are then dispersed. Under this system, 5,500 daily visitors will be accommodated, though viewers may still face hours of waiting in line for their turn to view the disaster area. Yet, like a Disney World Fast Pass, the tickets permit visitors to leave the line for coffee or other necessities and then return to their places.