A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 29: Police Party in the Park

July 25th · 2 Comments

At the 90th Street entrance to Central Park, 70 or so police cars materialized from nowhere, lights twinkling, like ravers converging at an underground club.

They drove in silently and parked in a tidy row on the shoulder of East Drive. I got the attention of a fresh-faced cop, who rolled his window down. “Terror drill,” he said, raising his eyebrows apologetically.

He added that every precinct in the city, all 76 of them, had contributed one car to today’s exercise, from the Bronx to Staten Island. This news made me personally feel safer, knowing that by clogging the streets, New York’s Finest had probably made at least one terrorist late for work this morning.

It turns out these drills are a frequent occurrence in New York at “soft targets” like Times Square and other well-visited places. The brass’s reasoning can be found in this article, as well as this statement on the department’s counter-terrorism website:

“The Department conducts drills and deployments that enforce a heightened security presence in the City and deter terrorists through a show of force.”

I didn’t see any terrorists cowering in the chestnut trees, but I did observe tourists snapping photos, and you can’t put a price on that. You just know that when Bert goes back to Dubuque he’ll show photos of his trip to Aunt Rose, and when she sees all those cop cars, she’ll probably scuttle her plans to UPS a box of brownies, stuffed with fuses and plastique, to the Engineer’s Gate in Central Park. We need to make people like her think twice.

My favorite part of this police get-together, though, was how the cops all kept their red lights flashing. It created a festive, dance-party kind of air, even though the cops themselves looked kind of stiff and uncomfortable. It’s soooo awkward when everyone shows up wearing the same outfit.

Tags: Sights & Scenes

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 anne // Jul 27, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Brendan is so jealous!
    He still thinks its cool that
    there were SWAT guys on
    my roof.

  • 2 sam iam // Jul 28, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Hilarious. Don’t forget, we’re the land of the free where we’re giving up all our freedoms in order to remain free, and the home of the brave where no one is allowed to take any initiative unless you work for the government goon squad. YAY!

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