NYC’s Penn Station Partly Shut Down After Terror Alert
The day after New York City issued a warning about terrorist threats against its subway system, parts of the famous Penn Station were blocked off.
Authorities closed part of Penn Station on Friday and commuters headed to work under the watchful eyes of police after a newly disclosed terror threat against the New York subway system. Workers in hazardous material suits inspected what appeared to be a red suitcase, and National Guardsmen and police with dogs were at the transportation hub beneath Madison Square Garden by late morning. There was no immediate word on what it may have contained.
One of the main entrances was closed off with yellow crime scene tape and a portion of the concourse above the tracks was also sealed to the public. Amtrak was still boarding some trains and operating some ticket windows despite the problems, spokeswoman Marice Golgoski said.
A mile away at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, more officers were visible on the streets, and one lane of traffic on Ninth Avenue was reserved for emergency vehicles. “Hopefully, God’s with me and I’ll be OK,” Vinnie Stella said earlier while clutching newspapers under his arm as he entered the subway at Penn Station.
One hopes this is precautionary or merely a response to a false alarm. Unfortunately, there’s precious little the authorities can do to prevent a terrorist attack on a mass transit system.
Update (1138): Penn Station Reopened After Terror Threat (AP)
As the city responded Friday to a potential terrorist threat in its subways, a section of Penn Station was shut down during the morning rush hour as emergency workers in hazardous materials suits investigated a reported toxic substance left in the Manhattan transit hub. The unidentified substance was inside a soda can found lying near an ATM and the ticket windows in Penn Station, said Amtrak spokeswoman Marcie Golgoski. The can was removed from the facility for testing by the city Department of Environmental Protection, she said.
The majority of Penn Station was reopened by about 10:45 a.m., more than an hour after it was closed. Police dogs and National Guard members also had been patrolling the station beneath Madison Square Garden due to heightened security conditions.
Golgoski said the substance in the soda can was found to pose no threat to passengers.