Times Square Evacuated After The Discovery Of A Car Bomb

“We are very lucky.” -- NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

I *really* hate doing posts like this but because of the seriousness of what could’ve happened and the fact that I was haunted all night long by what happened, I feel like I have to just get it out of my system. As you may have heard by now, Times Square in NYC, NY was evacuated last night after a smoking car parked right in the heart of Times Square was determined to have been a crude car bomb. Upon inspection, it was discovered that the parked Nissan Pathfinder was full of propane tanks, gasoline containers, other flammable material and a timing device. Had the car bomb exploded as planned, there could’ve been untold devastation and death right in the heart of New York City. Believe me, I know disturbing news of this sort is not really the usual fare that I share on my blog but, again, because of what could’ve been, I think it’s very important that we pay attention, take notice and acknowledge that we are still under real threat of attack. Here are some photos from Times Square last night and some deets from the New York Times about what went down:

A crude car bomb of propane, gasoline and fireworks was discovered in a smoking Nissan Pathfinder in the heart of Times Square on Saturday evening, prompting the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers on a warm and busy night. Although the device had apparently started to detonate, there was no explosion, and early on Sunday the authorities were still seeking a suspect and motive. “We are very lucky,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a 2:15 a.m. press conference. “We avoided what could have been a very deadly event.” A large swath of Midtown — from 43rd Street to 48th Street, and from Sixth to Eighth Avenues — was closed for much of the evening after the Pathfinder was discovered just off Broadway on 45th Street. Several theaters and stores, as well as the South Tower of the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, were evacuated. Mr. Bloomberg was joined by Gov. David A. Paterson, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and other officials at the early morning press conference to give a chronology of the vehicle’s discovery, its disarming, and the investigation that has been launched. The mayor and police commissioner had returned early from the annual White House correspondents’ dinner in Washington. At 6:28 p.m., Mr. Kelly said, a video surveillance camera recorded what was believed to be the dark green Nissan S.U.V. driving west on 45th Street. Moments later, a T-shirt vendor on the sidewalk saw smoke coming out of vents near the back seat of the S.U.V., which was now parked awkwardly at the curb with its engine running and its hazard lights on. The vendor called to a mounted police officer, the mayor said, who smelled gunpowder when he approached the S.U.V. and called for assistance. The police began evacuating Times Square, starting with businesses along Seventh Avenue, including a Foot Locker store and a McDonald’s. Police officers from the emergency service unit and firefighters flooded the area and were troubled by the hazard lights and running engine, and by the fact that the S.U.V. was oddly angled in the street. At this point, a firefighter from Ladder 4 reported hearing several “pops” from within the vehicle. The police also learned that the Pathfinder had the wrong license plates on it. Members of the Police Department’s bomb squad donned protective gear, broke the Pathfinder’s back windows and sent in a “robotic device” to “observe” it, said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the police department’s chief spokesman. Inside, they discovered three canisters of propane like those used for barbecue grills, two five-gallon cans of gasoline, consumer-grade fireworks — the apparent source of the “pops” — and two clocks with batteries, the mayor said. He said the device “looked amateurish.” Mr. Browne said: “It appeared it was in the process of detonating, but it malfunctioned.” Bomb squad officers also discovered a two-by-two-by-four-foot metal box — described as a “gun locker” — in the S.U.V. that was taken to the Police Department’s firing range at Rodman’s Neck in the Bronx to be destroyed, Mr. Kelly said. It was not immediately known what, if anything, was inside it. Officials said they had no reports of anyone seen running from the vehicle. Mr. Kelly said police were scouring the area for any additional videotapes but noted that the S.U.V.’s windows were tinted, which could further hamper any efforts to identify those inside. Some of the surveillance cameras nearby were located in closed businesses, and the mayor made clear it would take time to review all available tapes. “We have no idea who did this or why,” Mr. Bloomberg said. Kevin B. Barry, a former supervisor in the New York Police Department bomb squad, said that if the device had functioned, “it would be more of an incendiary event” than an explosion … Around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, the T-shirt vendor who first alerted the police returned to the scene, along with several other vendors whom he worked with … The vendor, who wore a white fedora, had a limp and walked with a cane, was swarmed by television cameras as he tried to make his way to a taxicab on 44th Street. As he got into the taxi, he was asked by a reporter what he had to say to New Yorkers. “See something, say something,” he said. Times Square on a Saturday night is one of the busiest and most populated locations in the city, and has long been seen as a likely target for some kind of attack.

I deffo try to keep things lighthearted and fun around here but news like this really needs to be disseminated as far and as wide as possible. I just cannot imagine what could’ve happened had this car bomb successfully detonated. A bomb explosion in Times Square would’ve been truly devastating … in more ways than one. This is the second time we’ve gotten lucky in the wake of a planned terror attack. Just last Xmas, a man almost detonated a bomb on an airplane that was coming in for a landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport … mere miles from where my parents live! It’s really very scary to think that we’ve now avoided 2 potentially deadly events … and the threat of another terror attack still looms. People if you do see something, say something! It is far better to be overly cautious and wrong rather than to ignore your suspicions and stay mum. Thank the gods that this event turned out to be completely harmless … unfortch, it really could’ve been a horrible and deadly success — we have to keep that in mind.

[Photo credit: Splash News; Source]

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  1. Lula

    The amazing thing to me is that I was having drinks with a friend at Bryant Park from 5:00 to about 6:30pm, walked across 41st to 7th Ave around 6:30-6:45pm to then walked south to Penn Station, and never noticed a thing.

  2. LuvYa

    Thank God for that t-shirt vendor.

  3. Kendra

    I thank you for posting this because I hadn’t seen anything about it! So scary!

  4. Manda

    So glad it was found before anything happened.

  5. I guess NYPD wasnt doing sh*t as usual. They are everywhere in Times Square

  6. Bess

    Thanks for posting this and keeping us aware of the world outside of Hollywood!

  7. Kristin

    So scary, but glad that everything turned out ok. NYC, especially Times Square is one of my favorite places and I would hate to see another tragedy in New York.

  8. shala

    my hotel was a block away! scary indeed.

  9. Leslie

    Okay, don’t laugh – although I LOVE ’24′ sometimes it scares the bejesus out of me. Simply because of stuff like this! These things really happen. And as a side-note re: 24 – when that certain terrible something happened to Pres. Hussan on the show, I got physically ill. We all know that those things have happened in real life also. Makes me sad, upset, scared.

  10. Bob

    Not to take away from the gravity of the situation but I feel it is important to note that
    1. Everywhere is always under the “threat” of a possible attack. War on terrorism or no war on terrorism.
    2. Since the driver of the vehicle has not be identified who’s to say it wasn’t a regular white American a la Timothy McVeigh and not a ‘terrorist’.

    • @Bob — Correct, there is constant threat in the world and this just reminds us that the threat is alive and well here at home. No matter who is responsible, whether foreign or domestic, this was a terror attack.

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