Page last updated at 00:33 GMT, Monday, 3 May 2010 01:33 UK

New Yorkers spooked, but defiant after car bomb plot

Times Square

By Sima Kotecha
BBC News, New York

For Lauren Sternberg, it was a sleepless night.

The 30-year-old and her friend, Jackie, were anxious as news came in of a car bomb planted in Times Square.

Till the early hours of the morning, they frantically exchanged text messages: "Did you hear what happened?", "Who put it there?", "I'm scared and I don't want to leave my apartment."

For Lauren and many other New Yorkers, memories from when the Twin Towers were attacked on that sunny September morning in 2001, came flooding back.


There was an overwhelming feeling that it was about to happen again.

Lauren Sternberg
Lauren Sternberg is avoiding the subway and Times Square

Lauren said: "As someone who's lived in New York practically her whole life, this frightened me.

"I was here during 9/11 and for that reason, I'm a little hypersensitive to anything else that might go on.

"I don't want to go on the subway and I also don't want to go to Times Square."

But not everybody experienced the same emotions.

Times Square was back to its usual self less than 24 hours after the bomb was discovered.

Tourists were tantalised by the bright, flashing lights and still took pictures.

'Show must go on'

Children licked their ice creams and watched adverts on the gigantic screens erected alongside Broadway.

It seemed like just another day in one of the city's tourist hotspots.

Lucille Scott
We as Americans, we are not going to be afraid
Lucille Scott

Josh Eisenberg, a 28-year-old actor from Brooklyn, said: "The show must go on. It's a little unnerving, I guess, but hey, it's not going to stop me being here."

The NYPD was on extra alert.

Its white cars with blue flashing lights manoeuvred in and out of the streets around Times Square.

Police officers wearing shades patrolled Seventh Avenue.

The metal barriers used to keep the public away from the area during the alert were piled up against the side of the roads.

Chris Selin is in her 60s. She and her husband, Jeff, were holding hands in the May sunshine.

She said: "It is frightening but it seems to be under control. There are police all over the place, and undercover police.

"It's a very secure area. I feel safe. We came to a Broadway play and we just want to enjoy our day."

Lucille Scott, a teacher in Westchester, upstate New York, admitted being scared, too.

But she was determined not to let fear stop her enjoying the city with her grandson.

"We as Americans, we are not going to be afraid," she said. "We are going to live our lives but remember, always be watchful."

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