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After Boston Marathon bombings, NYC tightens security

Police officers man their post at Times Square

Police officers man their post at Times Square in Manhattan as the city heightens security measures in response to the bombings at the Boston Marathon. (April 15, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

The NYPD beefed up security at iconic tourist sites, hotels and transportation hubs across the city Monday after the Boston Marathon bombings, and authorities said they would remain on high alert until more details of the attack are known.

"We have a high level of concern about what happened in Boston," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

Within minutes of the Boston explosions, NYPD officials and Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered security ramped up at hotels, transportation hubs like Penn Station, Grand Central-42nd Street station and Grand Central Terminal as well as popular tourist destinations such as Times Square, Radio City Music Hall and the World Trade Center site, Browne said.

Suffolk and Nassau officials also took notice of the bombings, putting officers on heightened alert. Suffolk officials said they are paying special attention to the Long Island Rail Road.

As word of the Boston attacks filtered across Manhattan Monday afternoon, an increased security presence was quickly noticeable.

Transit and NYPD patrols were posted outside Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal. More than two dozen squad cars and emergency response units were in the areas around 41st and 42nd streets in Times Square. At Penn Station, helicopters hovered around the area, and there was a notable increase in K9 units in the Amtrak terminal. In Grand Central Terminal, the MTA Police carried out a container inspection program, although shuttles and trains remained running and on time.

In lower Manhattan, at least seven NYPD cruisers were parked along the narrow one-way streets near Albany and Greenwich streets that face the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, where hundreds of tourists were exiting the site and where several large hotels are located.

Browne said the NYPD has had these measures in place for some time, particularly after the terror attacks a few years ago in Mumbai, India. As part of that training, police drilled for similar attacks at hotels here.

The FDNY also put all units on heightened awareness on all calls, a spokesman said.

In a prepared statement, Bloomberg said the NYPD is ready to protect the city.

"As law enforcement authorities investigate today's explosions in Boston, I ask all New Yorkers to keep the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers," the statement said. " . . . The NYPD has stepped up security at strategic locations and critical infrastructure, including our subways. Some of the security steps we are taking may be noticeable, including deployment of Critical Response Vehicles and additional police personnel, and others will not be."

The city has about 1,000 members of the NYPD assigned to counterterrorism duties.

Suffolk police boosted security at ferry terminals and LIRR stations as well as at Long Island airports, said Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon said in a prepared statement.

"Particular attention will be paid to the five major rail hubs in Babylon, Huntington, Patchogue, Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma," according to the statement.

Fallon said officers with the Suffolk police Emergency Service Unit also will be on patrol, with additional canine units that are trained in detecting and dealing with explosive devices.

"Officers and the public should be alert for suspicious persons, packages and/or vehicles. Emergency Service Section personnel will respond to any potential explosive device," Fallon said. Increased patrols also will target sports arenas and shopping malls in Suffolk, he said.

A Nassau police spokeswoman said there is no reason to believe anything in Nassau County is being targeted, but said police there are on heightened alert.

With Tania Lopez, Maria Alvarez and Ken Rosen

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