On Somber Eve, Business as Usual in New York City

Nat E. Jedrey

A flag flies at half mast on Cambridge Common yesterday.

NEW YORK—Today in New York City, the president of the United States, the governor of the State of New York, the mayor of New York City and hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Though the city is bracing itself for the raw emotions that will no doubt be generated by the anniversary, the mood in New York on the eve of the anniversary seemed to be one of business as usual.

Men and women in business suits buzzed on cell phones as they bustled from building to building in Lower Manhattan, and taxi cabs zipped through the streets where vendors hawked their wares.

The New York Stock Exchange, virtually around the corner from where the World Trade Center once stood, was open for business yesterday, and despite a few more barricades and security guards and a giant flag that was draped across its front, there were few signs reflecting the tragedy that occurred just one year ago today.

Businesses shut down for weeks and months following the attacks have since been re-opened. And one of the worst-damaged stores, a Brooks Brothers store located across the street from Ground Zero, will open its doors today for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001.

At Stuyvesant High School, just blocks from Ground Zero, school will be in session today. Though the school has provided counselors for any students who are feeling troubled or scared about the anniversary, teachers said there were no large ceremonies or assemblies planned for the anniversary and that it would be a “low-key” day.

Stuyvesant students said life has more or less returned to normal since one year ago, when they ran from the school up the West Side Highway as the second tower collapsed.

“I don’t feel like there’s a change,” said sophomore Daniel Liebowitz.

He said that even after having been forced to evacuate the building, flee from the collapsing second tower and hike three hours to his home in the Bronx—on just his fourth day of high school—he is not scared to be going to school in Lower Manhattan.

There are still concerns about the air quality of the school caused by the dust and debris generated by the collapse of the two towers. Parents protested outside the building on the first day of school this year, arguing that the building was still unsafe for their children.

But the students seemed unconcerned about the air quality and their proximity to Ground Zero yesterday.

To them, Stuyvesant is just their school, and yesterday was simply their fourth day of the school year.

The Stuyvesant students and teachers reflect the attitude of a city that wants desperately to move on from the worst tragedy in its history.

And though they will pause, reflect and remember the horrors of Sept. 11, New Yorkers yesterday echoed the message their state leaders have been sending to the world for months: New York is back in business.

One Year Later, Reliving a Tragedy

Harvard lost at least 19 of its alumni and relatives on Sept. 11, and scores of alumni lived through last year’s attacks.