City Residents Planning to Engage, Ignore 9/11




September 11 was important to Allison Altschuller long before it became the icon known as 9/11.

It's the date her father died, when she was still in her teens, and it's also close to his birthday, as well. This year, she hopes to say a memorial prayer and then go for a nice bike ride or a drive to his old stomping grounds near the beach in Brooklyn, celebrating his life — and also reflecting a bit on the broader, historic occasion for public mourning, too.

"I feel a sense of overcoming grief and a real pleasure to be able to acknowledge him and commemorate him," she said. "So, I'm really hoping that some of that energy I've been working on since I was a kid I'll be able to share with my friends who are really feeling more pain about the grief that hit the city that day."

New Yorkers have a wide range of plans for September 11. Many people say they'll pretty much go about their day as usual — but perhaps pause from time to time to think about the World Trade Center attacks ten years earlier.

"I'll do what I normally do — go to church," social worker Leroy Gripper said. "And I'm sure there'll be a focus and prayer for those who have 'gone through.'"

Jonathan Newhouse and others said they'd probably tune into the Ground Zero memorial ceremony on TV and think about the attacks, the lives lost and the changes in modern life over the last decade — but that their reflections would be integrated into their day

"It's the first day for NFL football Sundays, and I know the NFL plans to do a lot of stuff for it," Newhouse said. "I'm a Jets fan, and I'm sure they'll have a big ceremony before the game."

Others, like Kent Thompson, said that, to be honest, they had to work and didn't think they'd be giving the events of the day much attention at all.

"I'm a musician, so I'm playing a corporate gig or that kind of thing," Thompson said. "I know it's a big deal — lots of people will be doing bits and pieces — but I just haven't thought about it."

Fashion consultant Michael Chea also has to work. He's busy with Fashion Week, but hopes to slip down to Ground Zero early in the day, to lay a flower at the site, before getting to work.

Chea said he always tries to observe the day with a certain solemnity.

"I take the day off from going to parties and having fun, just to remember those that lost their lives [on 9/11] and those soldiers that sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan," he said. "It's a day to remember."