In so many ways, your trip reminds me of ours... My (now) husband and I went to Manhattan just three weeks after 9/11. Soot was still hanging over the city...but, the people were already getting back on their feet...resilient as ever! It was already impossible to get theatre tickets (luckily, we secured our seats for "42nd Street" in advance!). We had the most amazing time! Unfortunately, I don't have any easily accessible pictures, since that was B.D. (before digital) and I am not G.S. (good scanner).
Some of our group (I was traveling on business; but, we stayed longer on our own) went down to the World Trade Center site. I could not bring myself to do that. I was still sad.
I was one of about 5 people on our plane from Chicago to NYC...that was crazy.
When I arrived, I ended up sharing a cab into the city, with a textile representative, after we both needed a distraction and conversed the entire plane ride (nerves!). My (now) husband flew in a couple of days later...on a much fuller, less nerve-racking, flight.
One of our events was supposed to have been in the WTC. So, we had it at the New York Bar Assocation instead...and, no, they did not give us any breaks on the price (I still think of that!).
The city was alive everywhere we went. One of the neat things was that our group had some connections. My (now) husband and I rode to our Broadway show with a retired appellate court judge (in NY, these are the "courts of last resort"). He parked a few feet from the door (I am serious) and joked that his children don't care about his money when he passes...they just want his parking pass!
We saw a comedy show...not memorable, but still cool. We went to Grand Central Station. We went to the science museum near Central Park. We went shopping (tax free...a frequent occurrence in NYC)! We went to the most amazing jazz club. We went to Times Square...we saw a movie at a theatre there. We took a lot of pictures. We love the vibe! The energy! Everything! Thank you, NYC, for showing us what you are made of!