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Times Square Evacuated Again, Police Declare a False Alarm

By Heather Grossmann | May 7, 2010 1:42pm | Updated on May 7, 2010 3:26pm

By Ben Fractenberg, Jennifer Glickel and Heather Grossmann

DNAinfo Reporter/Producers

MIDTOWN WEST — Parts of Times Square were shut down by police again on Friday following reports of a "suspicious package" that turned out to be a cooler containing water bottles, police said.

NYPD officers evacuated Broadway between 47th Street to 44th Street about 1:45 p.m., along with 47th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues following reports of a suspicious package in front of the Marriott Hotel there, police said.

The streets were reopened about 2:30 p.m.

The “suspicious package” was an abandoned small light green fabric cooler and a small shopping bag, Paul Browne said at a press conference following the reopening of Times Square.

A member of the NYPD bomb squad gets suited up to check out the suspicious package.
A member of the NYPD bomb squad gets suited up to check out the suspicious package.
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DNAinfo/Jennifer Glickel

Browne said the bomb squad x-rayed both of the items, but were unable to determine what they contained. A member of the bomb squad suited up to investigate and declared that the contents of the bag were “not a threat.”

Since Saturday's attempted bombing in Times Square, New Yorkers have closely adhered to the city's "if you see something, say something" credo, with reports of suspicious packages on the rise.

“People are vigilant and they want to be vigilant,” Browne said.

NYPD top cop Ray Kelly spoke about the increased reports at a press conference at 1 Police Plaza earlier on Friday, saying that all potential threats are taken seriously.

"When we receive a threat we investigate it. Any aspect of it that can be investigated. We are not in a position to discount threats," Kelly said. "I think to a certain extent people are becoming more suspicious, more vigilant and that results in more calls. We understand that's what happens and we're prepared to respond."

Tourists visiting the Crossroads of the World were frightened by the incident, which came only days after a man tried to blow up Times Square.

“The kids were nervous about coming. I think we’re on high alert because of it,” said Kallene Nelson, 49, who had accompanied several children from Phoenix, AZ to New York on a school field trip.

But many said that the NYPD's extensive experience with terrorism threats made them feel less worried.

Parts of Times Square were shut down by police again on Friday following reports of a
Parts of Times Square were shut down by police again on Friday following reports of a "suspicious package" that turned out to be a false alarm, police said.
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DNAinfo/Olivia Scheck

"We got in yesterday and definitely noticed the police presence in Times Square. It makes us feel safe," said Mary, 48, who was visiting with family and friends from Virginia but declined to give her last name. "I think it’s great that people are being vigilant."

Debbie Robicaud, 44, was visiting the city from Portland, ME with two friends to see the Oprah Winfrey Show.

She said they all felt very safe and protected by the NYPD, adding, "Nothing would stop us from seeing Oprah."


Olivia Scheck contributed reporting.

A taxi tries to drive through a road block in Times Square after it was evacuated on May 7, 2010.
A taxi tries to drive through a road block in Times Square after it was evacuated on May 7, 2010.
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DNAinfo/Jennifer Glickel