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Security measures no guarantee of safety for tourists

NEW YORK - MAY 02: A man takes

NEW YORK - MAY 02: A man takes a picture in Times Square near where a crude car bomb had been parked at 45th Street and 7th Avenue there May 2, 2010 in New York, New York. Police found a crude but potentially powerful bomb in vehicle in Times Square and disabled it, clearing out the famous intersection of thousands of tourists on a busy Saturday night. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) Photo Credit: Getty/Chris Hondros

A high-tech network of cameras, license plate readers and facial recognition technology similar to what's in place in lower Manhattan is being planned for Times Square, officials said Sunday

With that work not expected to be completed anytime soon, tourists will have to rely on an increased police presence for their security, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Sunday. Even so, there will be no way to check every vehicle making its way in and out of Times Square, he said.

Kelly's words reminded a public alarmed by the discovery late Saturday of a bomb in a Nissan Pathfinder parked in Times Square that security measures can't guarantee safety, even in high-profile areas.

"It's just a sober reminder that New York is clearly a target of people who want to come here and do us harm," Kelly said.

Yet fear of terrorism didn't deter the throng of visitors to Times Square Sunday. If anything, news of the bomb scare made some more eager to take part in the buzzing hub Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the "crossroads of the world."

When Theresa Labella, her sister and two girlfriends learned of the bomb plot, it buoyed their resolve to make a long-scheduled Broadway outing to a matinee of "The Addams Family."

"Of course it bothers me," said Labella, who works in midtown and grew up in Manhattan. "But you can't live in fear."

Her friend, Lil Nociforo, of Coram, was more resolute. "We have waited a while for this," Nociforo said. "We weren't going to let anybody spoil our trip."

Dawn and Chris Tesoro learned of the bomb while driving from Patchogue to Central Park Saturday night. The couple planned to spend the night in a hotel uptown and celebrate Dawn's 46th birthday Monday.

"One would think that I would be hesitant," about coming into Manhattan, Dawn Tesoro said, "but I wasn't."

No botched bombing was going to stop Tom Scardino, 86, of Mineola, from a tradition his four brothers and four sisters have kept for a quarter century: a birthday meal at Carmine's on West 44th Street. Standing outside the Italian restaurant, the retired teller, who has survived the Depression, World War II and D-Day, was corralling his family, preparing for their meal. "At my age, going through what I did in life, if it's my time, it's my time," he said. "I stole all these years, so why should I care?"

Not everyone was so tenacious. Melissa Williams, 56, and Crysta Salinas, 28, both of Houston, had been out sightseeing when the bomb was discovered. Unable to return to their hotel, the pair spent the evening waiting at an Eighth Avenue deli until they were allowed back in around 2 a.m. Sunday.

"No more New York," said a shaken Williams. "We don't want to be in this kind of environment where there is a threat all the time."

With Mark Beja, Matthew Chayes, Reid J. Epstein and Will Van Sant

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