Ann Arbor Area Community News
New York City, NY—Spending a few days in New York City on my way back to Michigan, I wanted to give a firsthand account of the effects the recent terror warnings have had on the city…
Walking through the financial district, the air is palpably filled with tension. Police and press crowd near major landmarks and are poised as though they expect a bomb to explode any second. Newspaper vendors hold up copies of the Daily News shouting “Be safe! Be prepared! Know where the targets are and stay away!” (The paper’s front page has a white headline “TARGETS” against a black background, with a photo of Citigroup headquarters below)
Bomb-sniffing dog units are positioned at many subway entrances and patrol most major public spaces. By the Stock Exchange, you can occasionally catch a glimpse of special antiterror forces wielding assault rifles. Trucks are not allowed to use the tunnels and bridges that enter the downtown area, and are being routed elsewhere, where many of them are stopped and inspected before continuing on to their Manhattan destinations.
On the heels of a dire and alarmingly specific terror warning Sunday, citizens of New York have mixed feelings on the warnings and the city’s reaction. To many, it is business as usual. As the focal point of the 9/11 attacks, much of the city still hasn’t let its guard down, unlike much of the rest of the country. The ever-present police, road closures, and expectation of another attack are all too familiar.
But an employee of a midtown internet cafe says that the police deployment has been larger than in the past, and that the city seems to be taking this threat more seriously than any other before.
This may be due to the incredible level of detail given by Sec. of Homeland Security Tom Ridge in the press conference yesterday (see link below). Among other things, the warning mentioned specific targets in lower Manhattan and New Jersey, prompting swift reaction from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki.
Mayor Bloomberg even went so far to say that the additional deployment (part of the so-called “Operation Atlas”) would be in place “from now on,” and not on a temporary basis.
All in all, it is difficult to say this early how necessary (or unnecessary) these precautions are. While I have not been personally affected by the changes (other than having to walk the long way around Wall St. and having my bag searched at the public library), the police presence is somewhat alarming. And I don’t think I should comment on whether the warning was a politically-motivated move on the part of the Bush admin. until hindsight offers a better perspective.
I invite others in the City (if there are any of you reading this here) to let us all know what your experiences have been by commenting on this post.
> NY Times: U.S. Warns of High Risk of Qaeda Attack (non-expiring link)
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