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Package that halted PATH service not a threat, officials say

An all-clear was given by the authorities after

An all-clear was given by the authorities after reports of a suspicious item prompting a suspension of the Path train station at the World Trade Center, on July 2, 2017. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

An unattended package that led to the evacuation of the busy World Trade Center transportation hub in lower Manhattan Sunday was deemed to not be a threat after train service was halted for about two hours, officials said.

“PATH service at WTC station is resuming after an unattended item was cleared by police,” the New Jersey PATH Train commuter rail service tweeted Sunday just before 5 p.m. “Passengers should anticipate residual delays.”

PATH service had been suspended to and from the WTC Sunday afternoon after the unattended item was found on a track at the station, authorities said.

The package was discovered about 3 p.m. on track 2 at the PATH station, said Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority Police. About 3:15 p.m. authorities ordered the station closed and the NYPD bomb squad investigated, he said.

Shoppers inside the Oculus retail center, the centerpiece of the newly built World Trade Center transportation hub, were also evacuated during the investigation.

Witnesses described an overall orderly evacuation, but said many were left with frayed nerves contemplating the possibility of something sinister occurring close to the Fourth of July holiday.

Tiffany Jackson, an employee at the Swatch watch store, said everyone left calmly.

“Given where we are, it was definitely not an overreaction,” said Jackson, 26. “Especially with July Fourth.”

Bryan Radwancky, 35, was working at Kiehl’s when an officer wearing an army camouflage uniform told him and the rest of the employees to get out.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” said the Crown Heights resident. “We were with customers and one came in and said you need to get out now. When they saw we were finishing up, they were like ‘get out’.”

“It was scary, it was a little frightening,” he added. “It felt very abrupt. There was a sense of urgency. We all just ran.”

Ultimately, he said it was the right response to the situation.

“What if there was a bomb in that bag?” he said. “Given the reputation of this area and the history, you don’t know what to expect.”

Chris Murphy, 28, of West New York, New Jersey, said it was “confusing” and they weren’t told why the evacuation was necessary.

“There wasn’t a lot of direction,” he said, adding that tourists leaving seemed more nervous than people who live and worked here. “It’s New York, it’s never not chaotic.”

“It’s an appropriate reaction because you never know what’s happening. You have to,” he said. “It’s better to get out and be safe in the long run, especially down here.”

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