Yeah, that was the headline on all the papers. I was at Angus during all of this which is on 44th and 8th. The Nissan was parked on 45th and Broadway which is approximately 100 yards away from my bar, maybe a little bit more. I got off the N train at 3:30 and walked to work right past where the hubbub would occur a few hours later. Our pre theater rush was normal for a Saturday and we were on our way to make good money. At 8 pm, we went on our small downtime before the restaurant would fill up again. Nick came up and said that the theaters on 45th street were evacuated because of a bomb scare. My
first thought was that the people seeing the shows were getting screwed because they couldn't see the shows because of some asshole playing a prank. I looked out the third floor window and saw a huge steady stream of people walking past Phantom of the Opera (which is on 44th) right across the street from us. Then I looked to the left and saw police barricades set up on 8th avenue, not letting cars in, but people were coming in. I was just confused at this point.
I continued to watch the Cavs game hoping the restaurant would fill up with unhappy theater goers. But no one. 9:30 hit and still no one in the restaurant. Now I'm getting pissed. This jerk has now affected my income. I went on a quick break and walked down towards Broadway to get a snack. Hundreds of people were walking towards me and I became a fish swimming upstream. When I got back to the restaurant, Nick told me that there was a car that was left unattended and a suspicious package was in the back seat. Are you kidding me? A suspicious package has brought this reaction to Times Square? It was probably a stupid tourist who parked where they weren't supposed to and their American Girl doll brought the Feds to surround the car.
Now Nick (and I'm still confused why he knew all this information) tells me they were unloading all these explosive devices out of the car. Now the Cavs are shooting like crap, Boston is up by 5, and there are rumors a car bomb is down the street. So I did what any other person would do who was surrounded by hundreds of NYPD's and witnesses, I called my dad and asked him to look on line. It was confirmed. A Nissan was on fire, they evacuated the area, and have had bomb robots and men taking over the area. Our own Hurt Locker outside of Lion King!
Now the main questions of the evening occurred to me. WHY WAS I STILL BARTENDING? NOT EVACUATED? AND WHY DID THIS WHOLE THING NOT EVEN AFFECT ME?????? Maybe I'm just a New Yorker and feel bigger than the incident. A few days later, I realize I was in the position that I couldn't do anything. If it happened, it happened. No use worrying about it. I didn't feel there was another one parked somewhere. I lived through 9/11 and this seemed like someone just throwing a rock.
So the next day, reports came out that they were studying surveillance videos, tourists videos, and pictures. Now I'm getting paranoid. They obviously watched the videos far back enough to see me walk by. Did I pick my nose? Did I sneeze without covering my mouth? Did my eyes stare a bit too long at the mostly naked women waling through Times Square that day? Then I hear that they found a guy walking away from the scene who took his coat off and put it in his bag. OH MY GOD, WAS I WEARING A COAT? DID I TAKE IT OFF? Should I be fearing my safety and carrying around my passport like I was living in Arizona?
When we left that night around 12:30, the streets looked like nothing had happened. Police barricades were up but drunks roamed the open streets and people were taking pictures of stranded tourists who were being kept from their hotel rooms.
Since then, they have caught and arrested the man responsible. A US citizen who was born in Pakistan. Well, I hate to express my opinion, but I believe he should get the death penalty. Here is a man who if is convicted, meant to cause harm and death to innocent people for doing nothing else but wanting to enjoy an evening performance at the theater. If this person is wiped off the earth, we are that much safer when we want to see The Adam's Family.
Our city's police force and government were wonderful catching this guy. All the way up to the point he was on a plane to Dubai and they were on the runway. Very Jack Bauer! Ok, I'm off to work.
Here is a picture I took after I got off of work to show the vicinity of everything that happened. Those are law enforcements at the end of 44th at Broadway.