NEW YORK, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A minor earthquake shook New York City early Saturday, sparking a flood of phone calls to police and firehouses but there were no reported injuries or damage. According to a spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake measured 2.6 on the Richter scale and the epicenter was in Lower Manhattan, however, tremors were felt on Long Island and New Jersey.
The earthquake did not stop work at "Ground Zero" however, but later Saturday, the 24-hour day, seven-day-a-week effort of removing rubble from the World Trade Center will suspend in preparation of the memorial service planned for Sunday.
The inter-denominational service, open only to family members with tickets, will begin at 2 p.m. on Church Street between Vesey and Cortlandt Streets. The city is providing free parking and shuttle service from all five boroughs to the service.
According to the city, mental health professionals will be available to those grieving after the service. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that although there had been small memorial services at the site of the attacks, relatives allowed to visit Ground Zero, a restricted area, found it "strangely comforting."
Less than 500 bodies have been identified and many believe that most of the remains of people missing since the attacks last month will never be recovered.
The family of every victim in the World Trade Center attack will be given a wooden urn containing ashes from the site where almost 5,000 people died. The mayor promised the family members an official memorial from the city after scam artists tried to peddle Ground Zero soil to them for a price in September.
Just in time for the service, the N and R subway lines will reopen Sunday morning. Reopening the lines, which had been expected to remain closed for several more months, will ease long delays and detours for many subway riders from Brooklyn and Queen to Lower Manhattan.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority closed the lines and stations immediately after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Officials had said that the rubble and debris near the N and R tunnel under Church Street would keep the lines closed for months, but since the rubble had been removed faster than anticipated, the MTA determined that the 50-foot-wide tunnel had sustained little structural damage and allowed the lines to begin service again.
The Cortland Street Station, located nearest to Ground Zero is the most severely damaged station and it as well as the Rector Street will remain closed indefinitely. The City Hall and Whitehall Stations will also reopen Sunday.
As a result of the resumption of travel on the N and R lines, the J, M, Q and R lines will resume their normal route and offer welcome relief from weary subway travelers who have also dealt with delays for investigations of bomb and anthrax threats.
The U.S. Postal Service said Saturday it is cleaning up the machines in the Manhattan postal facility found contaminated with anthrax earlier in the week. Anthrax spores were found on four sorting machines in the Morgan Station Post Office which sorts the 20 million pieces of mail a day for Manhattan and the Bronx.
The New York Metro Postal Union said it will seek court action to shut the Morgan Center until it is completely cleaned and retested. None of the workers at the Morgan Center have tested positive for anthrax but the antibiotic Cipro was made available to thousands of employees who work there.
However, health officials are reexamining the cause of death of a postal supervisor who worked at the Morgan Center and was believed to have died of high blood pressure to see if anthrax may have been involved.
Three employees of the Buffalo News are taking Cipro after a suspicious letter postmarked Glasgow, Scotland contained white powder. According to the FBI, the letter is similar to other letters sent to The New York Times, The Albany Times Union and the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and believed to come form the same source. Preliminary tests were negative for anthrax.
Both the envelope sent to The News and to the Rochester newspaper contained a single sheet of paper with the word "Jihad," the Arabic word for holy war. The FBI said the letters were all mailed on Oct. 17. Two more similar letters were sent to National Public Health Organization and the National Federation of Federal Employees in Washington.
The Corcoran Group, a New York City real estate company, will host a dinner for its 700 brokers in several downtown Manhattan restaurants on Oct. 29.
The dinner, costing $100,000, was to thank the brokers and to celebrate the acquisition of NRT Inc, the largest national real estate company. It was originally planned for Rockefeller Center on Sept. 25 but was canceled after the attacks because it was "crass to celebrate anything."
"Following the mayor's request to help keep downtown restaurants in business, I hope our party will provide a boost," said Barbara Corcoran, the firm's chairwoman and founder.