NEW YORK – Although most New Yorkers and visitors said they went on with their regular business yesterday, employees in the area said they have noticed a change in the atmosphere of the city in the past several days.

Paul Wong
Columbia student Charles Choe embraces New York City resident Nary Choi in front of Ground Zero yesterday evening.

Some said they felt New Yorkers were being nicer yesterday and more understanding than usual because of the solemn mood for the one-year anniversary.

“People are starting to soften up. Last week it was just another week, but now you can tell they are feeling differently,” said Pete Petropoulos, who has been living in New York for the past month.

Many employees in New York City said they still harbor strong emotions about the attacks and for some the one-year anniversary has dredged up old feelings as well.

“My friends, we still talk about it and it still hurts a lot,” said Josiah Silverstein, a University alum and employee at the T.G.I. Friday’s at Times Square. “Some people still have post-traumatic stress and it has gotten worse these past few weeks.”

Theaters and resteraunts have experienced a decline in business during the past several weeks as the one-year anniversary approached and as the summer tourist season came to a close, workers say.

“It’s really dead in here,” Silverstein said. Silverstein added that September is usually a slow month, but that he has seen New York City’s popularity with tourists shaken since the Sept. 11 attacks.

All but three Broadway musicals will be dark tomorrow in honor of the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and some ticket sales have dropped over the past month as a result of the attacks and the one-year anniversary approaching, Douglas Garner, an employee at the TKTS booth in Times Square said.

“Lately, the line just hasn’t been long,” he said.

Box office attendance for the musical Les Miserables said they are below the typically September slowdown for ticket sales, having sold less than half of the tickets available for yesterday’s show.

Although almost all Broadway productions have called off their performances today, off-Broadway shows are still running.

Some bars and restaurants in the city will also close for the day, like Mache’s Dance Hall on Broadway, so that employees can attend memorial services for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, said Anna Kreman, a bartender at Mache’s.

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