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.
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."
"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.
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