The NYPD cautioned Wednesday there is no immediate threat to Times Square as a new video released by ISIS threatened the tourist destination.
“We are aware of the newly-released ISIL video that mentions Times Square,” Stephen Davis, the department’s deputy commissioner of public information, said in a statement. “While some of the video footage is not new, the video reaffirms the message that New York City remains a top terrorist target. While there is no current or specific threat to the City at this time, we will remain at a heightened state of vigilance and will continue to work with the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the entire intelligence community to keep the City of New York safe.”
Davis said the department will deploy additional Critical Response Command teams “throughout the City, out of an abundance of caution.”
The five-and-a-half minute video starts and ends with French President Francois Hollande speaking before cutting away to show terrorists preparing for and carrying out attacks, set to music.
The video then shows a suicide bomber preparing for an attack in a crowded Times Square, showing many yellow cabs and the TGIFriday’s. When he pulls the trigger, the screen cuts to black.
Words promising, “What is to come will be worse and more bitter,” then appear in both French and Arabic script.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged that New Yorkers “will not be intimidated.”
“The NYPD is the most capable police force in the country, with a robust counterterrorism operation that was just strengthened with an investment of 500 additional officers,” de Blasio said in a statement. “While Times Square and Herald Square appear in the video, the NYPD in conjunction with all of our partners are taking all necessary security precautions in these areas and areas across the City. New Yorkers won’t live in fear and people should continue to go to work, live their lives, and enjoy the greatest city in the world.”
Wednesday evening Times Square remained packed, many enjoying the mild late fall night and seemingly unfazed by the latest video. Dozens of police stood by, many wearing helmets and carrying rifles, in each main pedestrian plaza.
“It’s really sad what happened in Paris, but you gotta keep living,” said Alfred Lucket, a 40-year-old social worker from Harlem. “I think these terrorist organizations pretend they’re these sophisticated networks, but really there’s no way they could infiltrate a city like this.”
Sam Occley, a 58-year-old charity worker visiting for the week from Philadelphia, said he was aware of a potential threat but didn’t change his plans.
“I was a little hesitant to come this week, yeah, because, you know, there have been threats and they do say New York is next, which isn’t hard to believe really,” Occley said. “I’m a rational person, but there’s this little voice in my head going ‘what if?'”
Quinn Wise, an actor who lives in Washington Heights, said he always tries to be vigilant.
“I’m not worried or nervous about it, but I will say that ever since Paris happened it does feel like people are a little more on edge,” said Wise, 24. “I guess I try to watch out more than I usually do. I’m a little more wary.”