NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Security was increased in New York City Sunday for two separate race events, and a brief security scare prompted the NYPD Bomb Squad to rush to one race site.
Security has been beefed up citywide since Monday’s fatal Boston Marathon bombings, and as CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, the Run for the Parks 4-miler in Central Park and the 9/11 Memorial Run were the subjects of special attention.
From bomb-sniffing dogs to clear trash bags, police took no chances. If you entered Central Park with a bag Sunday morning, it was checked, and if you ran the race there, you were given a plastic bag for your belongings.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, police stopped the man. Inside his backpack, officers found a box with a toggle switch. Inside was a bottle with wires and a timing device.
“The bomb squad determined it wasn’t an explosive device and the person carrying it said it was used in timing kayak races,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told D’Auria.
Meanwhile, many runners took the restrictions in stride.
“It was new for us,” said runner Koem Blanquart of New York. “We’ve never had this before having to stop showing what we carried with us.”
Everywhere you looked, police made their presence known.
“This is one of the safer places to be right now,” one person at the race said.
“It was a little more congested, but you think about it’s for your safety,” another said.
But some runners said while they understand the increased measures, they may be overboard.
“Disappointed is the right word. Disappointed that we have to do it, but we have to do it now. Even an innocent event like a race we have to make sure that we’re careful,” one runner in Central Park told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.
Over at the 9/11 Memorial Run in Lower Manhattan, security was equally as strict.
The 9/11 run began from Pier 57. As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke to runners and onlookers before the race.
Cuomo told the people of Boston that New York stands behind them.
“You will get through this and you will come out the other end and you will be the better, the stronger, the more unified for it. I know that we were,” the governor said.
Because of a fear of a copycat attack following the Boston bombings, special precautions were put in place. Trash cans were removed along the race route and authorities conducted bag searches. There was also a beefed up police presence to scare off any potential terrorists and officers used hand-held cameras in an effort to deter would-be terrorists.
“We’re using our vapor-wake dogs and explosive dogs. We have towed vehicles away from the route itself. We removed trash baskets from the route. We’ve added police officers on scooters, we have our critical response vehicles,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told Miller at the 9/11 Memorial 5K run/walk. “We understand that people may be a little bit uneasy because of what happened in Boston so that another reason why we’re increasing our coverage.”