Police investigated a suspicious package near Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City on Wednesday evening, according to the New York Times. Police evacuated part of the terminal and closed Eighth Avenue between 41st and 42nd streets, according to Pix11. Will the suspicious package affect the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving? Police gave the all clear last night, and transportation resumed as normal.
Officials told Pix11 they evacuated the terminal's north wing around 5:30 p.m., and that the package was found on or near a light pole near the Microsoft Store. Michael Gonzales, a New York resident, told CBS2 that he saw a mysterious man leave the package near the New York Times building. “He had a dark trench coat — brown trench coat — very scruffy in the face; a beard," Gonzales told CBS2.
The New York Times said investigators brought in a bomb squad — a number of highly-trained officers who recently completed a special program in "critical response" to events of terrorism or other emergencies, according to CBS2. After a thorough investigation, the investigators said the package wasn't a threat and the surrounding area reopened at about 7:15 p.m., according to Pix11. It doesn't appear that Wednesday night's threat will affect the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or other festivities.
Officials told the WNYC that the same 200-member critical response team will be out in full force on Thanksgiving Day as part of a heightened security response after the terrorist attacks in Paris. The NYPD's Critical Response Command, helicopters, bomb sniffing dogs, and plainclothes officers will all be part of New York City's security measures Thursday, according to WNYC.
The NYPD said that though there haven't been any specific threats of terrorism, people should just be aware of their surroundings. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the heightened security and increased awareness is more a matter of common sense given recent events than a reaction from fear. "Don't be afraid, be aware, it's part of the new world we live in," Bratton told WNYC. Bratton said officers are keeping the parade heavily monitored and safe, according to WNYC:
Some of those officers would be equipped with the long guns, as we refer to them, rifles. We'll have additional Hercules teams, those are the heavily-armed entities that will be around the area of the parade route.
Officials told the Associated Press that they expect three million spectators at this year's parade in Manhattan. But Mayor Bill de Blasio said terrorists who recently threatened New York City are trying to make residents change their lifestyle, values, and "spirit," according to the AP:
I think people are coming here from all over the city, all over the metropolitan region, all over the country to be a part of this parade. We cannot let the terrorists succeed at psychological warfare. ... They're doing what they do to try and create fear, to try and change us.