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Times Square returns to normal, almost

The New York Police Department put up posters

The New York Police Department put up posters requesting the public to report suspicious activity all over Manhattan's Times Square, including on this corner of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue. (May 3, 2010) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

On the first weekday since the foiled car bombing of Times Square, Manhattan resumed its usually busy pace with many New Yorkers and visitors saying they were undeterred by one of the closest calls the city has experienced since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"I'm not going to live my life in fear," said Mohit Vanda, 47, of Charlottesville, Va. - an ophthalmologist visiting New York who strolled through Times Square Monday morning.

But while the people walking the typically crowded Manhattan streets appeared to have resumed business as usual, all around them were reminders of what had happened just 36 hours earlier.

Crime Stoppers posters offering rewards up to $2,000 for information on Saturday's attempted car bombing were plastered over utility poles and street signs throughout Times Square. There was also an increased presence of police officers in the area - and of television news crews.

However, at other nearby New York landmarks that are considered potential terror targets, there were fewer signs of a heightened alert. At Penn Station, Mark D'Alessio said he prefers not to see heavily armed police and National Guard soldiers.

"I don't want to see the submachine guns. That makes me panic more," said D'Alessio, 53, of Brooklyn, as he stood waiting for a Long Island Rail Road train.

Hofstra University law professor Leon Friedman, who specializes in the war on terror and lives in Manhattan, said, "People are not going to [stop] using the subways and [avoid] Times Square because of what happened. We're used to it by now . . . People have to go about their business."

For Aaron Wilfork, 39, that business included a trip into midtown Manhattan for a job interview Monday. Although he moved to Freeport from Boca Raton, Fla., just three months ago, Wilfork said he has already adopted the mindset of the typical New Yorker.

"Of course, you're going to be concerned," Wilfork said as he waited for his track to be announced at Penn Station. "But after a while, you just get numb to it."

With Alfonso A. Castillo


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