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Somber Manhattan back at work

Employees return to work Monday at the New York Stock Exchange.
Employees return to work Monday at the New York Stock Exchange.  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Just blocks away from the massive rubble heap that once was the World Trade Center, the streets of Lower Manhattan were bustling again Monday as business resumed for the first time since last week's terrorist attacks.

Thousands of workers continued their round-the-clock mission to clear away debris and search for anyone still alive in the pile of twisted metal and broken concrete.

Because a dusty haze still filled the area, the New York Stock Exchange -- just three blocks from the World Trade Center -- was passing out some 5,000 face masks to employees. The city Health Department said tests have shown asbestos levels are safe, but residents and workers should protect themselves against dust and soot.

The markets were closed for four days -- the longest such shutdown since the Great Depression -- because so many of its workers were lost or injured in the attack, and because so much of the communications and utilities needed to trade stocks were damaged or destroyed.

CNN's Thomas Nybo reports on efforts to feed the rescue workers in New York (September 17)

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Some phones were still out in the downtown area Monday.

A large American flag was draped across the columns of the New York Stock Exchange facade. Smaller versions were carried by Wall Street employees who populated the streets left empty after the attacks.

"It was a very somber commute this morning," said Bob McCooey, chief executive of Griswold, a brokerage. "There were a lot more people coming in early ... just so they can get through the checkpoint."

About 4,500 National Guard troops, along with state and local police, patrolled the streets.

The Brooklyn Bridge, which empties directly into Lower Manhattan, was open Monday to pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Subways were operating throughout the city, with slower and limited service around the Wall Street area.

The Staten Island Ferry also resumed service Monday morning. Across the water from the pier, where commuters stepped onto the morning ferry, smoke and steam still emanated from the altered Manhattan skyline.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who abandoned City Hall when it lost electricity and phone service Tuesday, said he and his staff would return there Monday.

Several job centers were open Monday for people displaced by the disaster.

And most public schools were open. Students from eight schools nearest the World Trade Center site were attending classes at other schools around the city Monday.

The Fulton Fish Market will be moved from its usual site near the tip of Manhattan to Hunt's Point, the city's market for fresh fruits and vegetables in the Bronx.

On Sunday, Giuliani said there were 190 confirmed deaths in New York, 115 of which have been identified. He revised the number of missing from the World Trade Center attacks downward to 4,957 from an earlier figure of 5,097.

He promised the rescue operation will continue until all hope is gone. No survivors have been rescued from the wreckage since Wednesday.

With searchers finding many more body parts than bodies, officials urged family members missing loved ones to provide DNA samples to help identify the victims.

The samples could come from the personal items of the missing -- from toothbrushes and hairbrushes to used Kleenex or cigarette butts -- or by using a cotton swab to rub the inside of a survivor's cheek.

A family assistance center, set up by the city on a West Side pier in Midtown, was one place where DNA samples could be collected.

LabCorp laboratories across the nation also were collecting samples. Appointments could be made by calling 1-888-520-6952.

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