New York City's top officials went to the scene of small explosions outside the UK consulate. Here is what they told reporters:
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
At 3.30 this morning here on Third Avenue, a relatively unsophisticated explosive device detonated. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
What exactly happened is under investigation but I think clearly this kind of thing is something that we are all concerned about and my advice to the public is to go about your lives.
But it just reinforces the message that if you see anything suspicious, call [police].
We do not at this point have any idea who did it or a motive but we have the best people working on investigating and I think eventually we'll find out who did it and we'll apprehend them.
It is true that the British consulate is in the building but I don't think anybody should jump to conclusions. There have been no threats, no phone calls, before or after this event.
There have been no other consulates that have been threatened, it's quiet in the city today. We do not have anybody that we are questioning.
At the moment however we plan to open all of these roads to traffic and subways are back running normally and with the exception of a block or so of pedestrian limited access, everybody in this neighbourhood will be able to go out and go to their offices, go to the stores and to the restaurants.
POLICE COMMISSIONER RAYMOND KELLY
This morning at approximately 3.35am, two improvised explosive devices were detonated in front of 845 Third Avenue, causing glass panels at the building entrance to shatter. There were no injuries.
The loud explosions were heard by police officers at the 17th precinct and the fire station right next door. The devices were placed in the soil of one of 12 large concrete planters in front of the location.
The blasts caused a foot-long chunk of concrete from the planter to explode into the front of the building. This building houses the British consulate.
There are other foreign offices in the building as well. However let me stress that we have no known motive for this action at this time.
Police bomb dogs were used to conduct a search for secondary devices. None were found. We've also made sweeps at various diplomatic locations as a precaution with negative results.
Third Avenue, between East 50th Street to 53rd Street, remains closed as the investigation continues. We seek to open the traffic flow shortly.
Videos from the security cameras at the site are being reviewed to determine whether they captured images of the individual or individuals responsible for the explosions.
The NYPD bomb squad, in conjunction with the FBI and our explosion experts, believe that the devices were novelty grenades filled with black powder and then detonated, possibly by using a fuse that was ignited by hand. No timing device appears to have been employed.
We believe that the two devices were similar but not identical. Members of the bomb squad recovered fragments from both devices immediately in front of the building and as far north as 52nd Street and Third Avenue, a half a block away.
Members of the department's counter-terrorism bureau, the intelligence division along with the joint terrorism task force and the FBI are continuing the investigation for possible motives for this act.