As preparations continued on Tuesday for the Thanksgiving Day parade, the attacks in Paris still weighed heavily on the minds of New Yorkers contemplating a visit to the iconic holiday event in midtown.
While there is always a large security presence at the Macy’s parade, it will be especially large this year, including officers from the NYPD’s Critical Response Command and Strategic Response Group, police said.
Chief of Department James O’Neill said there will be a highly visible police presence, but he noted there will be “a lot of things the public will see and a lot the public will not see,” including canine units and plainclothes officers, as well as sensors looking for radiological devices and dirty bombs.
“This year you will see a large [police] presence,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. “Don’t be afraid, be aware.”
But not all New Yorkers were as keen to join the large crowds jockeying to get a better view of the Snoopy balloon.
“It’s in the back of your mind, for sure. There’s no question, I’m definitely on high alert — for instance, I’ll walk out of my way to avoid Times Square because I don’t want to be in a central place like that,” said 22-year-old New Jersey resident Ralph Volpe. “I’m not planning on going to the Thanksgiving Parade, I mean that’s just easy to avoid. I don’t want to be in a huge crowd, especially with what’s been going on.”
During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said its true that “you can never account for everyone,” but cautioned that New Yorkers need to continue to live their lives or the terrorists win.
“What we shouldn’t do is play into the terrorists’ hands, and change our habits, change our lifestyle, change our democracy,” he said during the broadcast. “This is psychological warfare — that’s what it is.”
A de Blasio spokesman said on Tuesday the NYPD is equipped to keep New Yorkers safe, as they have been doing.
“Bushwick resident Melissa Zapatero, 28, said she was only 14 during 9/11 and fears brought on by that day have never left her.
“It’s nerve-wracking, I think about it every day,” she said. “I don’t know if we’re prepared, I don’t think we can ever be prepared for something like that.”