Saturday night, May 1st, 2010 was a scary evening for tourists and theater goers as thousands of people were evacuated so police, firefighters and bomb diffusers could come together to deactivate a car bomb which was beginning to detonate in the middle of Times Square.
First noticed by an alert T-shirt vendor, he informed the police at about 6:30 pm that there was a suspicious dark SUV Pathfinder releasing smoke from its rear. Its hazard lights were flashing and it was “just sitting there” according to another vendor who has been selling his wares in Times Square for over twenty years, just across the street.
The imminent danger was neutralized by a white robotic police arm which crashed through the windows of the car and removed the explosive materials. The city’s busiest streets were closed down and pedestrians, cabs, busses and other forms of transportation came to an unexpected and inconvenient halt due to the emergency.
Nevertheless, nearby Broadway Theater “went on with their shows.” In some cases curtain time was a bit later than scheduled but in all cases the shows started.
Times Square is one of the most famous of American landmarks, and as such has been at times a target for rabble-rousers, and at other times for terrorist attacks. In March 2008 a biker threw an explosive device at a military recruiting center, causing a flash and smoke and a full-scale emergency response. No one was ever apprehended for this act.
Gunfights have occurred in the busy square and in the last month alone four shootings and over 50 arrests on this one-mile long stretch of Manhattan inspired the Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to label the mayhem “wilding.”