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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 12:43 GMT
Thanksgiving at a time of sadness
Markets with Thanksgiving produce
Thanksgiving is a time of feasting and plenty
Jane Standley

It's business as usual - New Yorkers shopping like mad to fill their Thanksgiving tables.

It's a time for home, family and plenty of eating. On Madison Avenue, the traditional holiday season windows are luring the customers.

But even in the heart of the shopping malls, there are reminders of 11 September that show New York is a very different city.

Food critic and noted cook, Ed Levine, is taking refuge in tradition more than ever this year. He always caters for a large gathering at his home, and turkey with all the trimmings has a greater significance now.

Ed Levine
Ed Levine finds comfort in the traditional rituals
"This is a comfort food holiday anyway, even if nothing had happened on 11 September. So the fact that we are gathering and eating comfort foods - I think the comfort food will take on added resonance and added meaning," he said.

This year there'll be an extra place laid at the table for a family friend.

Ashley Shelby, like many Americans, is too afraid to fly to her family home in Minnesota this Thanksgiving.

"I'm going to be thinking about my parents who will be sitting at their table by themselves, wishing that their three girls could be with them - that's who I'm going to feel bad for," she said.

Shunning the airlines

New York's travel agents are also feeling bad. Flights are down by a quarter. But they are also busy selling the idea that people will recover their nerve.

Busy concourse in New York
Many New Yorkers are opting to travel by train
"Once they start thinking about taking a trip, eventually they'll end up going to airports, getting on airplanes and enjoying themselves," said Richard Copeland, from the American Association of Travel Agents.

"The freedom to travel is a right that Americans will not give up."

But tens of thousands more people have opted for trains rather than planes if they're determined to get home.

Some are going long distance by train for the first time ever. There's barely a seat to be had, and this Thanksgiving is now expected to be the busiest time ever on America's railways.

New Yorkers appear especially determined to celebrate this Thanksgiving, even if it means travelling by different ways along different routes - or just staying at home and supporting each other.

See also:

21 Nov 01 | Americas
Attacks cut US holiday travel
14 Nov 01 | Business
US airline hopes for Thanksgiving
20 Nov 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
New York: City on edge
21 Nov 01 | Americas
NY attacks 'killed less than 4,000'
27 Nov 00 | Letter From America
The origin of the continental blow out
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