On the way to the theatre last night, I ran into a police barricade. No matter what block we turned to, from Seventh Avenue to Eighth Ave, from 45th St to 46 St., police insisted that we stand back, get out of the way. I had a flashback to the Republican National Convention when we tried to march peacably along a preordained route and police kept yelling at us to go a different way as if we were the source of the trouble and not the war in Iraq and other misconceived political decisions that brought us out to have our say.
Last night was a simple matter of walking to the theater and being redirected to the curb. When I asked a police officer what was the matter, she only said, "A smoking car." Then she said very indignantly, "get out of the way. You aren't doing any good standing there."
Another person said, "Its the Islamists."
Times Square requires advanced pedestrianship in the best of circumstances, that is when thousands of tourists, vendors, residents, crooks, and others are walking in a zigzag pattern. You have to bob and weave just to get through the street. But when people are in the way because of a police barricade, and then you try to get to the front of the line and ask a police officer what is going on, you have to be pretty aggressive with your zigging and zagging.
I had bought tickets to see a play. The play was going to start momentarily. The police prevented us from attending. After a while the police said that all performances were canceled. This was after they said to call the theaters. There was no way to get through to the theaters by phone or foot or email or anything. Now I have two tickets for last night's performance. When I wrote to NY1, they forwarded this announcement from the Broadway League:
"There were no evacuations from Broadway theaters last night. Due to police activity that closed a few streets in Times Square, there were some late curtains but all shows did go on. For exchanges or refunds, theatregoers should contact their point of purchase. All Broadway matinee and evening shows will go on as scheduled today.
The proper authorities are doing their jobs to keep Times Square safe for everyone, and Broadway shows are setting their stages to delight audiences."
- Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director, The Broadway League
The smoking car was treated as a serious terrorist threat. It contained two containers of gasoline, some propane, a couple of alarm clocks, and some fireworks.
I know that there are people trying to do us harm, and that it is the job of the police to keep us safe, but I hate it when the police lie to me.
Bomb Scare Times Square May 1