On Saturday I met my friend Kelley in Times Square to see the King Tut exhibit, and then the night took an interesting turn when they found a bomb in Times Square… I’ll write about King Tut for this week, but thought I would write about my experience in Times Square today.
According to news reports the bomb was found around 6:30pm, right around the time I left the King Tut exhibit, which is on West 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. The bomb was located at West 45 at Broadway. Kelley and I walked up to a restaurant at West 46 and 8th Avenue for dinner and were blissfully unaware of what was going on. After 8:00 Kelley went to use the rest room and was told by another woman that there was a bomb threat in Times Square. I looked out the window of the restaurant and did notice that West 46 Street was closed and there was a little crowd around and heavier traffic. I work for New York City and am all too aware of how many “suspicious” packages are in New York City so I wasn’t too fazed by this. Plus I know that they are more careful with “suspicious” whatevers (I’m thinking of the recent suspicious vehicle back in December) and 2 hours to clear it wouldn’t be unusual or alarming. I rarely see Kelley so I didn’t want to start checking twitter or the newspapers on my iphone and pretty much ignored it. Kelley and I went up to a bar around 50th and Bway for a drink and left around 11pm. We walking down Broadway and at 46th Street were diverted to 6th Avenue. I did take a quick picture of an empty Times Square with my iphone, not a common site.
On 6th and West 46 there is a Fox News ticker which is where Kelley and I got our first glimpse at what was going on via the news – that their was a possible vehicle bomb and some guy was seen running away (which is not true), it was the first time that we got confirmation of this being serious, aside from the fact that at this point we knew it was going on about 4 hours, which is a long time. Kelley and I separated shortly after for our own respective homes and on the way home finally checked out twitter and the news and got an idea of how serious things were.
In the end it was a very serious situation, but Kelley and I was pretty oblivious to it, and that wasn’t hard to do, especially since we’re both pretty used to unplanned disruptions that happen in NYC all the time. You just walk a different way and go on with life. I think it’s also a testament to the good work on the NYPD, we didn’t see any chaos or confusion in the streets, just curious onlookers. As a tourist it would have been frustrating (can’t get to hotels, broadway shows and the sites), but also more fascinating.
In the next few days more and more information will come out about who did this and what exactly this bomb was (as in how much danger people were actually in.) Am I worried? Not really. It’s not that I’m not worried – I think Times Square, NYC Subway and lots of other places in NYC and other cities are targets for terrorists. But I also think our intelligence services are doing a good job, and in the end there are so many places that are targets and to avoid them all would be to not live life. The bottom line for me is that next week a friend is coming to Times Square for a show and I’m meeting her for dinner. I have not plans to skip this, I’ll be there with my friend for dinner.