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updated 5/19/2011 6:51:19 PM ET 2011-05-19T22:51:19

Four months ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, New York City started a campaign Thursday to lure tourists to the area surrounding ground zero with hotel deals and discounts meant to showcase how lower Manhattan has rebuilt since the terror attacks.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday said the social media and marketing campaign — to include restaurant promotions, merchant discounts and citywide advertisements — would celebrate the revival of the Manhattan neighborhood decimated in the attacks.

"A crucial part of the story of 9/11 is how lower Manhattan — an area many people said Osama bin Laden's attack would turn into a ghost town — has come back remarkably in the last 10 years," Bloomberg said at a news conference held on restaurant-lined Stone Street, which now attracts bustling crowds in the after-work hours.

Story: Airline ad at ground zero brings complaints

In the years after the attacks, many people moved to the area, drawn there, in part, by government rent subsidies meant to revitalize the zone. The 2010 census found that the district including the neighborhood had grown more than any other in the state, said Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who represents the area.

A lucrative tourism industry has sprung up around ground zero — which is now top among many visitors' lists of city must-sees. Around the massive construction site that marks the area where the twin towers once stood, vendors hawk glass figurines of the buildings and some salesmen offer picture books depicting the destruction of the attacks.

On Thursday, Bloomberg dismissed any notion that the marketing campaign means the city was looking to profit off the attacks.

"9/11 was one of the great tragedies that befell this country," he said. "One of the things that we have to do is to tell everybody about what happened" and "get people to come here so that we can tell the story."

Lower Manhattan has 17 hotels and about 5,000 hotel rooms, with 770 more rooms expected by the end of the year. NYC & Company, the city's tourism arm, is offering visitors walking tour itineraries and information on museum exhibitions, outdoor festivals and landmarks in the area.

Joe Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, has said that after the memorial's opening on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, about 4 million to 5 million people are expected to visit the site in the following year. Access to the memorial plaza will be limited to a set number of people, but Bloomberg said that he doesn't expect that to prevent people from visiting the site.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Take a Bite Out of The Big Apple

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  1. A full moon rises over the skyline of New York City, as seen across the Hudson River in Weehawken, N.J., on April 25, 2013. (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Commuters move through the grand hall of Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Jan. 25, 2013. Since its grand beginnings in 1913, when it was dubbed the greatest railway terminal in the world with an $80 million price tag, Grand Central has been an integral part of New York City. (Brendan Mcdermid / REUTERS) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Revelers cheers under falling confetti at the stroke of midnight during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square on Jan. 1, 2014. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. One World Trade Center overlooks the wedge-shaped pavilion entrance of the National September 11 Museum, lower right, and the square outlines of the memorial waterfalls in New York. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after flying out in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians on June 13, 2011, at Yankee Stadium. Located in the South Bronx, the new stadium opened in 2009. (Jim Mcisaac / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Central Park was the first public park built in America. Its 843 acres include woodlands, lawns and water. Central Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965 and a New York City Landmark in 1974. More than 25 million visitors enjoy Central Park each year. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Saint Patrick's Cathedral is the largest decorated gothic-style Catholic cathedral in the U.S. The cathedral's construction began in 1858, and it opened its doors in 1879. (Vincenzo Pinto / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Skaters glide around the rink at the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. The ice rink, open between October and April, has attracted more than 250,000 people a year since it first opened on Dec. 25, 1936. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Patrons line up outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem to see Amateur Night. Since 1934, Amateur Night at the Apollo has launched the careers of famous entertainers such as Billie Holiday, James Brown, The Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, and many others. (Jonathan D. Woods / msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The South Pool at the National September 11 Memorial in New York City commemorates those who died in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center. (Justin Lane / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Pedestrians pass along a walkway under falling snow on the Brooklyn Bridge on Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. One of the oldest suspension bridges in the U.S., the Brooklyn Bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. The Statue of Liberty looms over a visitor as he uses binoculars to look out onto New York Harbor on Oct. 13, 2013, in New York. About 4 million people visit the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island each year. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Coney Island features entertainment parks, rides, an aquarium, a public beach, a boardwalk, fishing and Nathan's restaurant. (John Minchillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. New York City Subway dancer Marcus Walden aka "Mr Wiggles" performs acrobatic tricks on the subway while passengers watch Nov. 23, 2010. More than 4.3 million people ride the New York subway system every day. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of two-mile-long Roosevelt Island - between Manhattan and Queens - was dedicated in 2012. (Paul Warchol / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York has been around since 1924 and includes large balloons, floats and performances. (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Visitors view the Manhattan skyline from Rockefeller Center's "Top of the Rock" observation deck. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Pedestrians walk along a path on the High Line park on June 7, 2011, in New York City. The High Line was formerly an elevated railway 30 feet above the city's West Side that was built in 1934 for freight trains. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. The moon rises at sunset behind New York's Empire State building, which opened in 1931. At 102 stories high, the Empire State Building is the fourth tallest skyscraper in America. (Gary Hershorn / REUTERS) Back to slideshow navigation
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