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911-anniversary

'Business as usual' for New Yorkers

A road checkpoint in front of a church.

Police and National Guard with assault rifles at the ready.

Manhattan resident Dan Ford shopping with his wife.

"Business as usual," Ford said. "I'm still doing what I normally do, and today I am shopping with my wife -- although, I have to say I was extra vigilant on the subway, looking for suspicious activity."

Ford and many others on the streets of Manhattan Friday seemed to be taking the advice of top city and federal officials on the latest report of a possible terrorist threat: Go about your business, but be alert.

Judi Van Stone, of Waterbury, Conn., visiting Manhattan for the day with husband, Ray, pointed out a helicopter hovering over Battery Park as evidence of a security presence.

The terror threat "didn't keep us from coming today," Van Stone said.

Visiting New York City with family, Giorgio Fighera, 23, of Italy, was having photos taken Friday with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. She was intent on not changing her plans.

"Their [the terrorists'] goal was to scare us, so we should do the opposite," Fighera said. "We should live as we normally do."

Walking through Battery Park on Friday, Deb Wolfe, 49, of Chicago, said she lost her son Anthony, 24, in Afghanistan in 2008, and that she was planning to an attend a commemorative event later in the evening on Staten Island.

"We've had family back in Chicago worry about us but we're here, and we've done a lot so far despite the scare," Wolfe said. "We're alert; 9/11 made us much more aware."

Her friend, Deb Rickert, 52, of Chicago, said she had two sons in the military, stationed in the United States. "I don't feel any more alert today than I did a month ago . . . Her son gave his life and my sons are fighting so we can have our freedom, so we can live our lives, so that's what we're going to do," Rickert said.

At St. Paul's Chapel on Broadway at Fulton Street, pedestrians and tourists alike said they felt more secure because of the heightened security, which included a checkpoint in front of the church where traffic was merged into one line as police stopped trucks and vans to check cargo.

The church, made famous on 9/11 for being a refuge to rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero, was open Friday and the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, was among the choirs singing for visitors during the day.

"I feel safe that there are checkpoints. The heightened security is good and does not cause me any alarm," said Emily Wilkins, 24, of Bethlehem, Pa., who is a member of the choir.

"It doesn't help to be anxious. It is better for me to throw myself into the music and deliver our gift to New York," she said.

Visitors Jay Heaney, 57, and Walter Buguey, 63, both of San Diego, said they felt the extra security was "appropriate."

"The police are visible, and I'm not concerned," said Heaney, who is in town to visit Ground Zero for the 10th anniversary.

"This is new for me," admitted Buguey, adding that a recent blackout in San Diego made him pause to speculate for a moment that it may have been a terrorist act.

With William Murphy

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