December 30, 2007
New York, New York
by Rev. Ian Alterman
On Saturday, December 29, 2007, at approximately 5:30pm, I was working at the Times Square Visitors Center on 7th Avenue and 46th Street when I received a phone call from my supervisor, who was on his way to help me close the desk at 6:00pm. He informed me that when he exited the subway, the police were cordoning off 7th Avenue and Broadway, between 42nd and 46th Streets, due to a “bomb scare.” I had actually wondered why the Visitors Center had suddenly become incredibly quiet on an otherwise particularly busy evening.
A few moments later, a member of the Times Square Alliance security team, who had been working alongside the police, told me that the police had received a “credible bomb threat” and found “suspicious devices” in two news boxes, one on 42nd Street and one on 45th Street. In addition to police, there were two NYPD bomb squads on site.
Note that the area was teeming with tourists two days before New Year’s Eve, and the police had to evacuate the cordoned area quickly, shunting the literally thousands of tourists onto side streets, or below 42nd Street and above 46th Street.
You may ask why I am reporting this instead of simply posting an article of other reportage. And therein lies the question: where was the media? Because this incident was not reported in ANY newspaper, or on ANY television station, including NY1.
Note that this was not simply someone calling in a suspicious package, or other citizen-instigated investigation. The city gets a few of those each month, and few if any are reported on because they usually lead to a briefcase with a sandwich and some work papers.
But this was a “credible threat” that caused the emergency evacuation of Times Square at 6pm in the evening two days before New Years Eve. In fact, one person who spoke to the police that evening told me that the bomb threat was not isolated to Times Square – i.e., that the threat included other areas as well – though I have been unable to substantiate this.
What I want to know is why the media “blacked out” reporting on this obviously serious incident. Could it be that they did not want to create panic two days before New Years Eve? If so, is that a legitimate reason NOT to report such a serious story?
I will try to find out more on this over the next few days. But something smells truly rotten about it. There is a cover-up here, and I would like to know why.