The first thing we noticed when we stepped out of Grand Central Station was the vast number of yellow taxi cabs on the street. Apparently taxi cabs are the most popular mode of surface transportation. It looked like there were at least 9 cabs to every 1 personal auto on the street.
The next thing we noticed was the heavy concentration of uniformed police officers on the streets and sidewalks. Police officers were directing traffic at each intersection, patrolling the streets in marked cars, scooters and motorcycles, and walking their beats. There were uniformed officers everywhere.
This is the NYPD substation at Times Square. It contains a message of welcome to the public and had parking spaces for patrol cars and scooters.
One block from the substation we came upon 15 marked NYPD cars each of which contained at least 2 officers. It looked like a taxi stand, but they weren’t accepting passengers.
I couldn’t imagine what those officers were doing so I walked over to a policeman who was standing nearby. I asked him what the marked units were doing and he said they were part of a routine terrorism exercise.
On the corner of the next block we saw a K-9 unit. Actually the K-9 vehicle looked like a large dog catcher’s truck. It had 6 cages for dogs and seating for six officers. The dogs were in their cages and the officers were standing on the sidewalk talking.
As we approached the WTC Tribute Gallery we saw two unmarked police cars, red and blue lights flashing, round the corner and stop in front of the Gallery. As the occupants of the vehicles exited they were surrounded by a large pool of TV and print reporters. Four uniformed Port Authority Police Officers were standing on the sidewalk so I asked them if they knew what was happening.
One of them said the Italian Attorney General was visiting the Gallery and the Gallery would be closed for 30 minutes while he was given a personal tour.
The following day we again encountered the NYPD almost everywhere we went. We saw police officers on the subway, directing traffic, walking the streets and even in boats on the water. These boats were protecting the water entrance to Ellis Island. First we encountered the Coast Guard, next was the Union County Police followed by the U. S. Park Police.
After we toured Ellis Island we returned to the public park outside Castle Clinton. We wanted to take a picture of the damaged globe that had been moved to the park from the World Trade Center. Again we found ourselves surrounded by people most of whom were tourists. As we approached the globe I saw a group of men carrying brief cases and pushing carts covered with sheets. One of them opened his brief case and appeared to be offering wristwatches for sale. I told Carol I thought they were probably selling stolen merchandise. Sure enough, after we photographed the globe we saw two NYPD officers on bicycles approach of the men. Almost immediately they arrested and handcuffed one of them.
As some of the group of thief’s quickly made their way out of the park, this group apprehensively watched the policemen do their duty.
Both of us were impressed with the police presence. In that environment with people constantly moving in all directions, it felt “just right”.