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.

Officials Shut Down Part of Penn Station

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.

Good news.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. ICallMasICM says:

    Contdown to ‘Bush faked it to distract us from blah, blah………..’ post

    10, 9, 8, 7……

  2. anjin-san says:

    Ummmm, yes. Clearly that was an evil soda can. Left there by, ummmm……. evil doers.

  3. Ugh says:

    It is wonderful that penn station can be shut down by a single soda can.

  4. NY Subway threat not Bushit says:

    A Bush distraction? That was my first thought. Very suspect timing on the part of Bush to suddenly spew so much “we must defeat the terrorists” rhetoric just before a terror alert and as it seemed indictments were forthcoming. Seemed very wag-the-doggish to me.

    It might not have been a fake, though. It may have been a legitimate threat. Apparently there may be much more to the story, if you believe Tom Flocco and his source.

    I have to give Tom some credit. He called the pending indictments early on in August through, I believe, the same source. If he’s right about there being an attempted terror attack on the subway involving Israeli Mossad agents and foiled by the CIA and French intelligence, then we all have some serious questions we need to ask ourselves about the whole matter.

    Check out the article:

    CIA, French intelligence kill 4, capture 5 Israelis in NY subway attack

    I can’t confirm any of what he’s saying. It’s just for discussion. A lot of it seems way over-the-top, but I’m posting this because it appears Tom may have been quite accurate with this source in early August.

    Please try to get over how you think this is a “Democrat” or a “Liberal” thing. Clinton was on equal par with Bush for being an enemy of the people, in my opinion.

    Bush, is no better than Clinton. They both suck. When will we take our head’s out of our asses and see that the past two administrations have been HORRIBLY SELF-SERVING? Are we really that stupid or naive? I would hope not.

    I say we get back to the Constitution or get rid of it altogether since we seem so eager to toss away our hard-earned rights for security anyway. Let’s just stop the hypocrisy of saying we are free and waving our flags mindlessly when it seems almost every month more of our Constitutionally protected rights are shredded by laws that violate almost every one of the liberties ensured in the Bill of Rights. Why pretend anymore? The land of the free and home of the brave has become less so. We have been running scared and angry, which are really two sides of the same coin. That’s not very brave. And, our freedoms have been repeatedly given up for security. That’s not very free.

    I hate to draw the comparison, but Hitler had Reichstag and Bush had 9-11. Terror can be planned and used by those we want to trust. It happened in London. 1,000 man drill the morning of 7/7 simulating a terror attack at all the locations where bombs went off. Oh my, the drill suddenly “went live.” Uh, huh. I don’t think so. The odds? Astronomical. And look at the ABC News photos online showing the train where the bomb blasted the floor UP instead of down. That means the explosive was UNDER the train, which means the whole “Islamic terrorists did it” story should be questioned. In a disaster drill, if you know anything about them, they always make them as real as possible, which means they needed people to play the part of real terrorists. So, they hired four people to play the part. Were they shocked? You bet your ass they were if they had even an instant to be shocked before they were blown up by..??? It’s funny how the “mastermind” they discovered was an MI6 asset. Oops. Makes Britain look pretty f-ed up.

    Same “terror drill” thing happened 9-11. At least 8 drills the morning of 9-11 including the simulating of an attack on the WTC with an airplane. Again, the odds? Astronomical. The odds that over 100 systems would fail to keep us safe on 9-11? Astronomical. Though it’s easy to shut down systems under the cover of “it’s only a drill, stand down.” Of course we don’t know a lot of what happened due to a huge number of gag orders right after 9-11. Why would terror be staged? To enslave a population and give justification for the overthrow of civil liberties in favor of “security.” It’s problem-reaction-solution where those in power create the problem, wait for the reaction, and then propose the solution, which they already had crafted (i.e. Give up your rights and we’ll keep you safe.)

    Pardon my French, but people, stop being so FU*KING SCARED of dying. We all go through it. Deal with it. If you’re a Christian, then hey, Jesus is waiting. What’s the big deal?

    The confiscation of guns from legal gun owners in New Orleans was another violation of our Constitution and was just a trial run. Get used to it. They will be in every city come bird flu or the next attack, which I feel will no doubt be a staged one if Cheney gets his way. But don’t worry, the military and government are your frieeeeennnnds. They would never do anything to harm you.

    Don’t believe a word I have said here—but be smart and “take it for checking.” Check it out for yourself or just wait and see. It will be too late then, but you can choose to do that and remain silent while our incredibly beautiful country is raped, plundered, and bankrupted further and while power is further consolidated into the hands of the very, very, very, very few. And, these multi-billionaires (the banking families that own the Fed—yes, it is privately owned, wake the f-up) aren’t interested in more money, they are interested in more power. That is, power over YOU and I. They want total control. They are not moral like you or I. Think “satanists” and you’ll be on the right track.

    Bush had 9-11 and Clinton had Oklahoma City and Waco. All atrocities. Four bombs were discovered INSIDE the Federal Building. That is known. It was reported at the time as they were discovered and then it suddenly disappeared from the news. But, you can find the news reports online. It blows the whole Timothy-McVeigh-did-it-with-a-fertilizer-bomb theory sky-high. Waco was a highly planned operation and was deliberately publicized by the ATF to the hilt. They called the news stations, like it was their job to get publicity? They needed it for what was to come next—more gun laws which did little to protect law-abiding citizens as the criminals still had unregistered guns. It only makes us less safe.

    Okay, enough of my ranting for one evening. God bless.

  5. Cleaning Lady says:

    Wow, we may really be doing some serious house-cleaning here!

    21 Bush Admin Officials Involved In Plame Leak