Theater district shut down, reopened.
NYPD officials, still on high alert from last week’s bomb scare, again shut down a large section of Manhattan’s theater district on Friday afternoon due to a suspicious package. Sections of 7th Ave. south of 48th St. were closed to auto and foot traffic.
Police have cleared streets around Times Square after finding a cooler left on a sidewalk on the same block where a failed car bomb was found over the weekend.
Tourists, frustrated locals, journos, and good old-fashioned rubberneckers crowded the police line tape at 44th, the south end of the disturbance, which ran up the Times Square-7th Ave. area to 48th St. A portable NYPD guard tower was erected outside the MTV building between 44th and 45th. Onlookers took photos of the empty Toys R Us store – an odd site in the middle of a Friday.
At 2:16, the police began herding onlookers onto the street and reopened the square shortly thereafter.
“We are immensely appreciative that the NYPD always does all they can do in order to keep New Yorkers safe. Fortunately, the Times Square evacuation earlier this afternoon was a precaution instead of a problem,” Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League said in a statement. “Everyone is safe and Times Square is back to normal so all Broadway shows are open and scheduled to start on time as usual.”
The suspicious package causing he disturbance was the second of the day. “They shut down 8th avenue for two hours this morning,” said Daryl Dunn, 25, who works in the area. “I didn’t get breakfast.” Dunn says he’s sick of the disturbances but understands the problem: “It’s gonna be a high alert thing for a couple of months,” he said. “When you see a cooler in the middle of 7th avenue, you don’t think some fat guy left his beer in the street anymore.”
“It’s just bullshit,” one of the cops complained. “Somebody calls something in, and then there’s all this. This is going to happen all the time now.”