NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — French New Yorkers were reacting with shock and pain to the horrific attack that left several dozen people dead in Nice on Thursday.
The attack happened during a celebration for Bastille Day, the French National Day that commemorates the Storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution on July 14, 1789.
A truck loaded with weapons and hand grenades plowed into a crowd that had gathered to watch fireworks in the French resort city. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 80 are dead in the attack, and 18 are critically injured. CBS News reported more than 50 were injured.
PHOTOS: Dozens Dead In Nice Attack
As CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported, people were also gathering in New York for Bastille Day, with a celebration under way in SoHo.
French New Yorkers said they do not want to let a terrorist attack on their country — the second in less than a year — ruin their national holiday.
Extra NYPD officers were posted outside at the French Consulate in Midtown Thursday evening, and at the French Embassy, which was having a cultural festival coinciding with the holiday.
In SoHo, the Bastille Day celebration went on. CBS2’s Rincon spoke with several French citizens, including one young man who has a lot of friends and family in Nice.
He has been reaching out to them on social media and is thankful they’re safe.
“They’re shocked, they’re shocked, you know, because it’s not the first time,” said Remi Humbert-Droz. “A few months ago the Paris attacks, and then now. It’s really tough for our country.”
“They want to stop our way of life, so we need to celebrate,” said a man named Richard. “We need to stay all together and to show friendship.”
“I mean, that’s what those people are trying to impose on us, being fearful and all that stuff, and that’s what we’re not doing,” said François Balmelle.
The French New Yorkers who gathered Thursday night said it was not just about celebrating the holiday, but celebrating life, their French joie de vivre, and not letting anyone take that from them.
Meanwhile, New York elected officials issued tweets condemning the attack and expressing solidarity with France. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was “horrified by the rampage.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted he was “sickened by news of another senseless attack.”