New York Today: How Safe is Times Square?
Updated, 7:38 a.m.
Good morning on this sweaty Friday.
A car plowed into pedestrians in Times Square on Thursday, killing an 18-year-old tourist and injuring at least 22 others.
The driver, Richard Rojas, a 26-year-old from the Bronx, appeared to have been impaired by drugs, law enforcement officials said.
The nature of the crash immediately stoked fears of terrorism. But there was no indication that was the motivation, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.
Before New Year’s Eve, James P. O’Neill, the police commissioner, described Times Square as one of the “safest venues in the entire world,” because of the heavy presence of officers and other security measures.
After the crash, we asked pedestrians near Times Square how safe they felt. The responses were mixed.
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“Not at all,” said Sonia Martinez, 69, of Miami, who lived in New York for 30 years. “I’m so scared walking there,” she said, looking past a string of police tape into a nearly vacant Times Square on Thursday. “I’m always looking over my shoulder.”
Ms. Martinez said that she wanted to move back to the city, but that she had safety concerns.
“New York is the focus point for terrorism,” she added. “Crazy people all over the world are focused on New York. It’s scary.”
Diana Veloia, 33, from Harlem, who often walks through Times Square on her daily commute, said she was not afraid but didn’t think the area was the safest place in the city.
“There is a lot of commotion going on and a lot of scammers there,” Ms. Veloia said.
As for the crash, “drunk driving can happen in any neighborhood,” she said. “This is the first time that I’ve heard of a major case like this.”
The police presence provides “an added level of comfort” for Sheba Frempong, 39, of Corona, Queens, who works as an executive assistant at 7 Times Square.
For Abdoul Koita, 21, a ticketing agent for a tourism company, it’s the sidewalks that don’t feel safe. He works in Times Square every day.
The city “should take real measures to protect the safety of pedestrians,” said Mr. Koita. He suggested raising the curbs and putting in speed bumps.
Osama Khattan, 62, a sketch artist from the Upper West Side who works in the area, said the city should close the area to cars completely. But in general, he said, he felt safe.
As does Maria Cruz, 56, of Washington Heights, who hands out fliers in Times Square for Lazzara’s Pizza.
“You can’t be scared and live here,” she said. “If you did, you would never get out of bed.”
How safe do you feel walking around Times Square? Let us know in the comments.
Here’s what else is happening:
Think it was hot yesterday? It doesn’t look like it’s going to cool off.
Expect a stifling high of 91 today, with sun in the morning and thunderstorms possible in the afternoon.
(The pollen count: high.)
The weekend is looking lovely, though — clear skies, cool nights, and highs in the 60s.
In the News
• The city’s homeless services agency has agreed to do more to accommodate homeless people who are disabled. [New York Times]
• Why does New York State control the subway? It’s because of a political clash of egos, half a century ago. [New York Times]
• In “Big City,” the columnist Ginia Bellafante writes about how the increase in immigration raids has not helped curb gang violence. [New York Times]
• In “About New York,” the columnist Jim Dwyer writes about Gene Russianoff, a longtime fighter for better mass transit who is now tackling Access-A-Ride, the M.T.A.’s system for people with disabilities. [New York Times]
• Seven men who were abused as children by priests of the Archdiocese of New York revealed some details of the settlements they had received through a new sexual abuse survivor compensation fund. [New York Times]
• A poll suggests President Trump is losing support in his main New York stronghold, Staten Island. [DNAinfo]
• Immigrants now comprise half of the city’s seniors. [WNYC]
• Those boarded-up buildings in Chelsea are finally getting renovated. [Crain’s]
• How to peacefully coexist with the city’s raccoons. [Gothamist]
• Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “A Trip to the City”
• Scoreboard: Royals flush Yankees, 5-1. Lynx leaps past Liberty, 90-71.
• For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Friday Briefing.
Coming Up Today
• Bring your mat to a yoga class at the Hockey Rink in Little Bay Park in Bay Terrace, Queens. 10 a.m. [Free]
• Take a fencing class at Bryant Park in Midtown. 1:30 p.m. [Free]
• See bhangra dance performances, and take a beginner class, at the West Harlem Piers in Harlem. 6:30 p.m. [Free]
• A screening of “Thief,” part of the Caan Film festival — which is showing a dozen films featuring the New York-born actor James Caan — at Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. 7 p.m. [$15]
• An evening of drag and burlesque performances inspired by horror B-movies at Coney Island USA in Coney Island, Brooklyn. 10 p.m. [$15]
• Yankees at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (WPIX). Mets host Angels, 7:10 p.m. (SNY). New York Red Bulls host Toronto F.C., 7:30 p.m. (MSG).
• Alternate-side parking remains in effect until May 25.
• Weekend travel hassles: Check subway disruptions and a list of street closings.
• Cheer on the runners at the Brooklyn Half-Marathon. 7 a.m. [Free to watch]
• Learn the basics of fly fishing at the Orvis near Bryant Park in Midtown. 10 a.m. [Free]
• Pick up perennials and grasses harvested from the gardens of Battery Park, and join a class on how to care for them, at the Battery Urban Farm in Lower Manhattan. 10 a.m. [Free]
• Taste of Tribeca, a food festival that supports local schools, takes place on Duane Street, between Greenwich and Hudson Streets, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. [$45, tickets here]
• Learn wilderness skills like flint knapping, camouflage, and how to make a bow drill, during Wildfest at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens. Noon. [Free]
• Look for horseshoe crabs on a discovery walk at Plumb Beach in the Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn. 6:30 p.m. [Free]
• Yankees at Rays, 4:10 p.m. (YES). Mets host Angels, 7:15 p.m. (FOX).
• Watch the walkers participating in AIDS Walk New York along the route in Central Park, beginning at 10 a.m. [Free to watch]
• Sample cider made from the apples harvested in Green-Wood Cemetery, at the Modern Chapel in Brooklyn. 11 a.m. [$30]
• Join a historical tour following the route of George Washington’s retreat during the Revolutionary War, at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. 11 a.m. [Free]
• Compete in a dumpling tasting contest, where contestants will attempt to identify ingredients used in the little balls of dough, at Dumpling Galaxy in Flushing, Queens. 3 p.m. [$35]
• A performance of the opera “L’Elisir d’Amore,” by the Regina Opera Company, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. 3 p.m. [$26]
• Yankees at Rays, 1:10 p.m. (YES). Mets host Angels, 1:10 p.m. (WPIX). New York City F.C. at Orlando City, 7 p.m. (FS1).
• For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.
The Brooklyn Historical Society is opening a museum in Dumbo today in the renovated Empire Stores, a 19th-century warehouse with schist walls, a brick facade and a timber frame, where coffee was once roasted.
The Brooklyn Historical Society, founded in 1863, hosts art exhibitions, film screenings, conversations with historians and authors, and discussions about topics as diverse as gentrification and Muslim identity.
The first exhibition in the new space, “Shifting Perspectives,” features photography from more than 20 artists and tells the story of the industrialization of Brooklyn.
Admission to the museum and to the exhibition, on view through Sept. 10, is free this Saturday and Sunday.
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