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K-9s in Times Square

A peek behind the curtain at New York City’s security preparations for New Year’s Eve

K-9s in Times Square

New York City police officers patrol near revelers gathered on Times Square. (Craig Ruttle/AP)

A New York moment:

A rainy New Year’s Eve in Times Square went without a hitch thanks to tight New York Police Department security. We likely will never know the full extent of the NYPD’s security operation for this celebration that brings tens of thousands of people to Times Square each year, but at a press conference the department’s leaders shared a peek at how they do their work.

The police closed Times Square at 4 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. As people began flooding into the holding “pens” to get a spot for the ball drop, police scanned everyone. They deployed bomb squads, K-9 dogs, 1,225 cameras (goodbye privacy!), and 235 blocker vehicles (like garbage trucks and city buses) to make a secure perimeter. The police department also had to monitor 94 other New Year’s events around the city. 

Likely in response to the Las Vegas shooting, the NYPD decided this year to embed intelligence officers in hotels well in advance of the event. It had planned to use drones to monitor the crowd for the first time, but the rain kept them grounded. The police also had banned umbrellas, which meant a lot of soggy revelers in the pouring rain. After midnight, city sanitation workers moved into Times Square to clean up an estimated 56 tons of debris, including confetti. I’m thankful for these city workers keeping us safe and free of wet confetti clumps. 

Worth your time:  

Evidence is coming to light that students are increasingly traumatized by school shootings, even if one doesn’t happen at their school. Last year, according to a Washington Post analysis, 4 million students went through lockdowns—not drills, but threats that came in to their school. 

Omar Ricardo Aquije/The Post-Star/AP

An emergency drill at Hudson Falls Primary School. (Omar Ricardo Aquije/The Post-Star/AP)

“School shootings remain rare,” the Post writes. “What’s not rare are lockdowns.” Students, thinking they might be about to die, sent final texts to parents. Anecdotally, I know my sister has experienced this with students at the public school where she teaches. 

This week I learned:

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has allowed a priest to continue his work despite paying out two settlements on his behalf over accusations of child sex abuse. One of the alleged victims committed suicide in 2015. Now the church says it is reopening his case. 

A court case you might not know about: 

New York lawmakers outlawed nunchucks in 1974, according to The New York Times, because they worried that young people swept up in the craze over Bruce Lee and martial arts would “cause havoc.” A federal judge in Brooklyn last month struck down the ban on nunchucks as unconstitutional, and the backstory to the case is fascinating. The man who challenged the law had taken up nunchucks as a less-lethal self-defense weapon after his father was stabbed. 

Culture I am consuming: 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of my favorite movies to come out this year, and I’m not normally a fan of superhero movies. Stunning visuals, great music, wonderful story. My other favorites of 2018: Roma, A Quiet PlaceFree SoloWon’t You Be My Neighborand Tea with the Dames. It was a good year for documentaries. 

Email me with tips, story ideas, and feedback at ebelz@wng.org

Comments

  • Midwest preacher
    Posted: Sun, 01/06/2019 08:59 am

    Every time I see huge crowds of people gathered and standing or sitting so close they can't avoid touching I think...why in the world would anyone want to be there.  I'm not afraid of crowds but I would only be in one if there was a "pressing" need to be there (no pun intended).  I certainly won't go to see a celebrity or watch a ball drop.  The whole thing is beyond me.  On the practical side think what it costs, think of the carbon footprint  think about the mind set of people who gather to totally trash a large area of a major city.  Sorry, I'm ranting aren't I?