Bomb-sniffing dogs, teams of heavy-weapons officers and some transportation headaches will greet New Yorkers and visiting dignitaries Monday as the city searches for those responsible for planting the dumpster bomb that injured 29 people.
An increase of 1,000 New York state police officers and state troopers, more bag checks at subway stations and police presence at major crossroads are planned in response to the attack, state and city officials said Sunday. The explosion Saturday night was on West 23rd Street and not near a main hub like Wall Street, Times Square or Park Avenue, but the widespread response, coinciding with the start of the United Nations General Assembly, will be felt throughout the city.
We have no reason to believe at this time there is any further immediate threat, and will deploy the additional 1,000 officers at bus terminals, airports and subway stations just to err on the side of caution, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference Sunday. The citys new police commissioner, James ONeill, said commuters would encounter more bag checks and canines in the transit system.
You will see a very substantial NYPD presence this week, bigger than ever, Mayor Bill De Blasio said during a news conference at police headquarters Sunday. We would normally have an expanded presence for the General Assembly. You will see an even stronger presence now.
While silent on the New York bombing, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a stabbing in a Minnesota shopping mall Saturday night that injured nine before the assailant was killed by an off-duty police officer. The confluence of the attacks put terrorism back on the front burner for the presidential campaign, starting when Republican Donald Trump on Saturday night decried the “bombing” hours before officials confirmed an explosive device had been found.
There were no scheduled changes in the arrival of dignitaries for the UN meeting, and major employers such as Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. hadnt issued advisories for anything out of the ordinary. Aside from the 29 people injured, and those who lived in New Yorks Chelsea neighborhood, it was largely business as usual for the city, which recently passed the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with no major disruptions due to terrorism.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that runs New Yorks transit systems along with the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter train lines, said its systems and stations had no structural damage from the blast. Nor did the Port Authority of New York and New Jerseys PATH trains.
Still, the No. 1, E and F subway lines were bypassing stations around the bombing site on Sunday, and some subway entrances and exits on 23rd Street may remain closed, Cuomo said. New York City Transit had warned before the blast that there may be severe and significant delays on dozens of bus lines in and out of Manhattan this coming week due to security zones for the UN meeting. Four bus lines remained detoured on Sunday.
Parts of Chelsea, on the west side of Manhattan, were cordoned off and some residents had to show a utility bill to get back into their buildings.
The bomb, which went off on West 23rd street between Sixth and Seventh avenues around 8:30 p.m., sprayed shrapnel on bystanders and caused serious property damage. The explosive was similar in design to a second undetonated device found on 27th Street, and the the Federal Bureau of Investigation is still examining them, Cuomo said.
The undetonated device was described as a pressure cooker with wires sticking out of it and a mobile phone attached. A pipe bomb that exploded in Seaside, New Jersey, earlier Saturday, forcing the cancellation of a running race, appeared to be of a different design, Cuomo said. Evidence from all three devices is being taken to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, he said.
While theres no evidence linking the New York explosion to an international terrorist organization, any bombing in the city is generically a terrorist activity and will be prosecuted as such, Cuomo said. A joint task force including FBI and the the NYPD with more than 50 agencies involved is investigating.
The last time New York faced a terror attack — the May 1, 2010, attempted car bombing in Times Square — it took police two days to arrest Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistan-born resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who had become a U.S. citizen. Key to his arrest had been surveillance cameras that recorded his vehicle as he parked it at a curb near Broadway theaters.
That event, also on a Saturday night, put New York City Transit on high alert but didnt disrupt a UN conference on nuclear non-proliferation three days later.
ONeill, on his first day on the job Sunday following William Brattons retirement, said police are canvassing in the area of the blast for additional video to see who could have been walking down either street.
As to whether the city would take a new approach to the proliferation of dumpsters, ONeill said they are very much a fact of life for New Yorkers.
Unfortunately there is so much construction in New York City, there are going to be dumpsters all across the city,” he said.