Within two-hours, parts of Penn Station and a midtown bank were evacuated — thanks to an abandoned backpack and an electronic greeting card, of all things.
Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said passengers in Penn Station’s west end were evacuated about 30 minutes after the backpack was found between tracks 13 and 14 around 1:40 p.m.
An NYPD bomb squad found the backpack to be harmless, and passengers were allowed back in at 2:15 p.m. Incidents like this are “very rare” at Penn Station, Cole said. “I don’t know the last time something like this has happened.”
Cole said that while all Amtrak trains ran according to schedule, he couldn’t estimate how many passengers missed their trains because of the evacuation. Two New Jersey Transit trains were delayed for around 30 minutes.
News of the Penn Station scare broke shortly after another NYPD bomb squad was dispatched to the midtown branch of Bank Hapoalim, at 1177 Sixth Avenue.
The bank's 11th-floor office was briefly evacuated after a package found in their mailbox didn’t have a return address, which the police determined to be an innocuous electronic greeting card. Representatives for the bank could not be reached for comment.