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Giuliani declares New York open for business



NEW YORK (CNN) -- Shouting the traditional "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!" New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani declared the city open for business during an appearance on the comedy show "Saturday Night Live."

"Having our city's institutions up and running sends a message that New York City is open for business," Giuliani said during the opening monologue. "'Saturday Night Live' is one of our great NYC institutions and that's why it's important for you to do your show tonight."

Lorne Michaels, the show's executive producer, personally thanked Giuliani for all his hard work but worried that it might be too early for the country to start laughing again.

"Can we be funny?" he asked the mayor.

"Why start now?" deadpanned Giuliani.

Paul Simon sang "The Boxer" as Giuliani stood with firefighters and policemen who have been at working in the rubble of the World Trade Center towers where thousands were killed when planes crashed into the towers on September 11.

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Meanwhile, a wrecking ball began knocking down what remained of World Trade Center 4 Saturday, another casualty of the terrorist attacks.

The 24-year-old, 7-story, 84,500-square-foot building had partially collapsed when rubble from the twin towers fell on its roof.

In addition to hundreds of members of the fire department and police department, 800 heavy equipment operators are working in two 12-hour shifts, the International Union of Operating Engineers said.

Other buildings made unstable by the collapse of the twin towers will also be torn down in coming days, city officials said.

Giuliani reiterated that, more than two weeks after the attacks, it would take a "miracle" to find anyone alive.

"The reality is that we don't expect that we're going to be able to find anyone alive."

Giuliani spent Saturday morning attending memorial services in Queens for a firefighter and a paramedic. He applauded other New Yorkers who attended services for victims across the city.

"It's a way of showing support to the families that are affected by this. It's a way of showing support for New York City and for America also."

The death toll Saturday rose to 309, of whom 248 have been identified, Giuliani said. Between 4,642 and 5,641 people are missing. The lower figure is based on reports from family members, the higher number is compiled by the police department, which draws from six separate sources of information, and may contain some duplicates, he said. Nearly 8,800 others were injured in the attacks.

The mayor has said the remains of some of the victims may never be identified.

The process of obtaining death certificates began Thursday. By Saturday afternoon, 946 people had filled out forms at the family assistance center, where hundreds of grief counselors and volunteer lawyers stood by to help them.

The amount of rubble removed from the site -- a 24-hour-per-day-operation, rose Saturday to 139,782 tons, carted off in 9,403 truckloads.

The 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building, New York's tallest skyscraper after the destruction of the twin towers, reopened to the public Saturday morning, a day after a bomb threat led officials to evacuate the building's offices.

People lined up outside the door and down the block to get in. "They want to show they're not going to be stopped; they're not going to be afraid," said Giuliani. "That's very typical of New Yorkers."

In a preliminary analysis of the economic impact of the attacks, the New York City Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO estimated 108,500 jobs will have been lost by October 11.

The estimated wages and compensation lost was put at $6.7 billion, and the estimated total output lost was $16.9 billion.

Giuliani acknowledged that the city has taken a "significant" financial hit since the attacks, but said he did not know what the total impact would be.

"We are coming out of it," he said. "There were a lot more people in the streets today. More tourists today than yesterday, and more yesterday than the day before."

Late in the afternoon, Giuliani met with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who had toured the rubble. "The Canadian people are with you," he said. "We have to work -- all the nations together -- to make sure that terrorism is destroyed," he said. "It's not a way of living. It's not what we're on earth for." Giuliani also met with Ismail Cem, the foreign minister of Turkey.

"I know that you will overcome this tragedy," he told the mayor. "We are with you, and God help you."



 
 
 
 



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