Special Reports

New Yorkers will spend day losing themselves in work

NEW YORK - This city will be open for business today, but it won't be business as usual. On the day marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, many Manhattan workers say they are determined to show terrorism did not permanently disrupt the city's rhythms.

Some businesses will close, some will let employees take the day off, but most New Yorkers will be at work as usual.

And that's just fine, many say.

"I'd rather be at the office," said Emerson Moore, a corporate attorney who lives in Brooklyn but works in Midtown Manhattan. "I've shed my tears. As opposed to just continuing to focus on it, I'd rather move on."

Small observances will be held today in Moore's office building - headquarters of investment firm Morgan Stanley, which lost many employees last Sept. 11. Yet, Moore and fellow attorneys such as Rick Chung said they likely won't do much more than observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.

"Most New Yorkers feel they want to look forward to the future," Chung said. "The concentration is more on getting on."

Other New Yorkers will be at work because they have no choice.

Many work in Manhattan as security guards. Hundreds more are police officers. Others work in the tourism industry, which recently released figures showing a slight increase in visitors since 2001.

And many are employed by Manhattan-based media giants, which plan extensive coverage of today's commemorative events.

Electrician Bill Abbate expects to be hooking up air-conditioning units at NBC News' outdoor tent, making the connections that will keep news anchors cool.

But at some point amid his busy day, Abbate said he will take a moment to reflect and "say a quick prayer."

"You've got to sit off somewhere and spend some time thinking about people," he said. "It's not so much for the people who have died, but the people are still living."

The back-to-business attitude is especially prevalent in Midtown Manhattan, about four miles north of the World Trade Center site. Many Midtown workers did not lose a spouse or co-worker on Sept. 11, and the bustling area suffered no damage in last year's attacks.

"We're open for business, but we're also aware of what they day represents," said an employee of Credit Lyonnais, a consulting firm located a few blocks south of Central Park. He asked that his name not be used.

"New Yorkers have a very tough skin," he said. "What happened here was a tragedy, but we dealt with it. We pulled ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and moved ahead."

Lower Manhattan workers are less likely to be so matter-of-fact. Many lost friends or co-workers last September, and most must detour around the 16-acre World Trade Center site on their morning commute.

"You're always looking at it and you're always fighting crowds taking pictures," said Tara Langan, an accountant who works for Deloitte & Touche in the Financial District.

"It just gets to you after a while," Langan said. "When they're smiling and taking pictures in front of the hole, it's just appalling."

Deloitte & Touche will be closed today, as will many other smaller firms in the Financial District. Many workers say they will be happy to have the day off - if not specifically to honor those lost, then to avoid the congestion and potential for any repeat violence.

Thursday, more disruption is expected in the Financial District. President George W. Bush will tour the newly restored Winter Garden, a glass and steel atrium across the West Side Expressway from the World Trade Center site.

Trader John Proctor believes the additional security, which will surely include hovering helicopters, will have everyone on edge.

"You don't sit out here and hear a plane going by without looking up," he said. "Actually, we're all looking forward to Friday the 13th."

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