A Manhattan firehouse glistened with a fresh coat of red paint, memorial quilts were put on display, and an enormous American flag billowed from the George Washington Bridge, all parts of the preparations for the approaching fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center attack.
And among the people getting ready for the observances was an Army reservist, in town for his baptism.
The reservist, Sgt Larry Provost, was back at ground zero, the spot where he spent weeks digging bodies from the rubble of the World Trade Center towers after the terrorist attacks that killed 2,749.
On Sunday, he planned to return to neighbouring St Paul's Chapel for his baptism.
Provost's godparents are a couple he met while working at the World Trade Center site.
St Paul's, the 240-year-old Episcopal church across from ground zero, where the World Trade Center once stood, became a centre for the recovery effort.
Volunteers provided weary rescue workers with round-the-clock food, water, massages and comfort.
On the nearby Lower East Side, a firehouse made preparations for Monday's arrival of President George W Bush, during part of his two-day visit to the city.
Nicknamed "Fort Pitt," the base for Ladder 18, Engine 15 and Battalion 4 will host Bush for a Sept 11 breakfast.
On Saturday, the firehouse's two front doors sported a new coat of fire-engine red paint.
Contractors used power washers to clean the brick facade and bagpipers practiced on the second floor.