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New York Getting Back to Normal - 2001-09-23

The terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center put the city in a state of shock and sorrow for more than a week, diminishing the "Big Apple's" glitter and glamour. But, there are signs that life is returning to normal.

The music is blaring once again at New York discos and bars. Young people were in evidence all over midtown Friday night, dancing, dining, and strolling down the avenues. Young and old alike could also be found standing in line to buy tickets to theatrical productions in the Broadway area. This was a big change from a week ago.

The slowdown after the September 11 attack led to the closing of four Broadway shows and the loss of 100 jobs for actors. Losses on Broadway could be as high as $5 million.

Sal operates a ticket sales office, but he came out to the street to sell his excess tickets.

"We sell tickets over the phone to soldout shows like 'Lion King' and 'The Producers,'" Sal explains, "but right now sales ain't too brisk. We have a lot of seats left over because of the catastrophe we had here. So we have to go to the street and we are selling them out here for half the price we normally sell them. But still not everybody is getting to see the show. Hopefully it will get back to normal soon. The last three or four days I have seen it slowly increasing every day. I am seeing signs of that, yes."

Sal says New Yorkers are coming out now, but there are few people from out of town and very few foreign visitors.

Bars and restaurants are also seeing more activity. David MacFarlane manages Houlihan's bar and restaurant on East 42nd street.

"Yesterday, we finally had our first big day. We had a lot of people in here yesterday. I think people want to get back to their lives. I think people are finally getting back into their groove again," he says.

Some of the liveliest commerce these days can be seen on the streets where makeshift markets sell American flags, World Trade Center memorial T-shirts, and patriotic trinkets.

"Check it out, check it out," a vendor says.

Teresa Gonzalez keeps busy selling items that range from around $5 to as little as $1. She has American flag lapel pins, memorial ribbons, and various patriotic tee shirts. But she says her supplier has raised prices, making it harder for her to make a profit.

"I am making money, but not too much because it is too high to sell," Ms. Gonzalez says.

In what may be an even bigger problem for vendors, demand for such items seems to be slackening. Already some vendors have had to drop the prices of T-shirts from as much as $10 a week ago to about $2 now. New Yorkers are still mourning and they are still angry, but they are getting back to their routines and trying to move forward.