By Ben Fractenberg and Dan Marrin
EAST VILLAGE — After attending the 9/11 10th anniversary memorial service Sunday morning, Bill Richardson was looking forward to getting back to his normal Sunday routine: an evening with the NFL.
"It's the American way," said Richardson, 57, who went to the World Trade Center site earlier in the day before traveling up to the East Village to watch the Giants game. "We don't want anything to stop."
Many New Yorkers spent the day just as they would any other Sunday, and they disputed the idea that doing so was somehow dishonoring the memory of 9/11.
Karolyn Silver spent the afternoon watching her son chasing pigeons around Washington Market Park in TriBeCa. Like many New Yorkers, Silver, 42, had wondered what was the “right way” to spend 9/11.
“I was talking to some other mothers yesterday about how we ought to spend the day, given that it was the 10th anniversary... When I woke up, I asked myself, ‘Is it okay to take my son to swim lessons?’”
SIlver’s husband worked at the World Trade Center on 9/11, and was emerging from the subway stop there when the towers fell.
“He came home covered in ash… I almost couldn’t tell if he was alive,” she said. They were living at 12th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues at the time, and Silver recalled her streets being filled with smoke, to the point that people walked through the streets in gas masks.
“To me, I don’t see the big deal about this being 10 years, versus 9, 8 or 7 years. I remember it almost every day… Moving forward is what it’s about now,” Silver said.
TriBeCa fashion designer Chelsea Scott, 29, who was taking her dog for a walk down Greenwich Street Sunday afternoon before heading to some fashion shows, said she had no hesitation about sticking to her usual Sunday schedule.
“Besides taking a moment of silence to remember and maybe change your perspective on life, why shouldn’t we live as we normally would?” Scott asked.
Nick Roberts, 24, said he was going to take his girlfriend Kaitlyn Baker, 21, to the Met for the first time. They had gone to the free 9/11 memorial concert at Lincoln Center the night before. “I guess you could say we’re honoring through the arts,” Roberts said.
Ron and Julie Flowers of Darlington, South Carolina were also enjoying the city arts scene. They’d come to NYC to see the Derek Trucks Band performance on Saturday at the Beacon theater, and were on their way to Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" musical Sunday.
Ron, 61, had been surprised to find that many New Yorkers had left Midtown for the weekend to get away from the 9/11 events.
“These days, it seems 9/11 is more of an annoyance than anything else,” Ron said.
A different spirit was on display at Engine 54/Ladder 4/Battallion 9, a prominent Midtown firehouse at 48th Street and Eighth Avenue that lost its entire day shift and some night shift crew had died at the towers on 9/11.
The firehouse unveiled a memorial wall at the station Sunday, as firefighters from all over the country and the world stopped in to shake hands and pay their respects there to New York’s Bravest.
“This is one of the busiest locations in the city, people coming in and out of here every day…We get a lot of attention because of our location, but every firehouse I’ve ever worked at from Brooklyn to Queens and the Lower East Side – they all lost people that day," said Battallion Chief Mike Meyers, 42, who has been running the house since 2003.
“As in any institution, there are those people who go before you who you look up to. The men who died on 9/11 set the bar for us. We’re just trying to live up to their example.”
One firefighter visiting the station from Engine 96 in the South Bronx, who preferred to not be named, said, “For us, we really don’t need to the anniversary to remember 9/11… We remember what happened every day we go to work. We never forget.”