By Jill Colvin
MANHATTAN — A mounted NYPD officer who helped to clear the crowds in Times Square on Saturday night was treated to a hero's dinner just blocks away from where the smoking Nissan Pathfinder was found.
Police officer Wayne Rhatigan, a 19 year veteran of the force, joined Mayor Bloomberg for dinner at Blue Fin in Times Square Sunday.
"There are some people around the world that find our freedom so threatening that they are willing to kill themselves and others to prevent us from enjoying it. But we're not going to let them win,” the mayor told reporters during the thank you dinner, which first deputy mayor Patricia Harris also attended.
Rhatigan was on patrol on his horse Miggs when a T-shirt vendor alerted him to the suspicious Pathfinder at 45th St. and Broadway.
Rhatigan told the The Daily News he knew immediately that the car, which was "reeking of gunpowder," was suspicious.
"I smelled gunpowder and knew it might blow. I thought it might blow any second," he reportedly said.
But the hero treatment didn’t last long.
After leading the evacuation, Rhatigan returned to his home in Holbrook, L.I. home for a quick nap.
Hours later, the News reported that Rhatigan was back to life as usual, coaching his 9-year-old daughter Haley’s lacrosse team.
Asked what his three kids and wife thought of all the praise, he told the paper, “They're tripping. They can't believe it. They think I'm a hero. I guess this is my 15 minutes.”
Bloomberg also extended a thank you from President Obama, reports said.
And as for the horse, Miggs, that Rhatigan was riding?
"Miggs is chowing down tonight on some grain and hay," Bloomberg reportedly joked before he and Rhatigan chowed down.