Are You Planning to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square?

NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – By H. Nazan Işık – Backpacks, large packages, coolers, lawn chairs, umbrellas, alcoholic beverages and especially personal drones are strictly prohibited.

“You should leave your drones at home. Just don’t – to anybody coming into the city, to New Yorkers, don’t fly a drone that night. [..] And if you do fly one, there is a good chance you’re going to end up getting arrested,” said Commissioner James O’Neill at a press conference on Friday.  

(L to R) Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner James O’Neill and NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan. (Photo: © H. Nazan Işık /NKENdiKEN)

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and other top officials held a press conference on Friday at the NASDAQ building in Times Square to discuss the security plan for the New Year’s event.

“What are different this year is the counter-drone technology, and the drone factor, which is, we’ll be deploying NYPD drones for over-watch,” said Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, NYPD.

Chief Monahan talked said about the drone: “Alright, it will be on top of one of the buildings on Times Square. It is tethered because we don’t want it flying over a crowd, we’ll never have it over a crowd. The area that it is going to be in will be cordoned off, so God forbid anything happen to the drone, it will fall down to an area that’s already cordoned off that no one is at.”

Officials avoided questions on whether there will be only one drone or more, and the capabilities of the NYPD’s drones.

“I’m not going to answer the amount of drones we will be putting up. I’m not going to tell you how powerful the camera is,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

“We’ll be using over 1,225 cameras. […] If there is an event, we’re able to dial up a camera, rewind through that and see exactly what happened and what was involved. 

“On the what you’re going to see side – you’ll see the Bomb Squad response teams out there. You’ll see the explosive detection K-9 dogs at the checkpoints and in the inner perimeter. You’ll see over 235 blocker vehicles, everything from police cars, to Sanitation sand trucks,” said Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, NYPD.

Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison, NYPD talked about the logistics that in place for the New Year’s event. 

“Beginning at 4 a.m. on Monday, December 31st, 2018, Times Square will be closed to vehicular traffic, and 11 a.m. for the traffic closures. Those traffic closures are going to be between 38th Street to 59th Street, between 6th and 8th Avenues.  At which point we will start allowing people into the pens. [There will be 65 pens].

“Those entry points will be at 38th, 49th, 52nd, 58th, 59th, on 6th and 8th Avenues, as well as we’ll have an entry point at 54th and 6th, and 55th and 8th Avenue.

“But just be advised, if you do happen to leave the pen that you’re not going to be allowed back in”

“At each one of these entry points, you’ll see officers with magnetometers to make sure that no suspicious objects get in,” Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison, NYPD said.

He reminded the prohibited items, “no backpacks, no large packages, no coolers, no umbrellas, no lawn chairs, and no alcohol.”

And continued, “Also at these entry points, you will see lights, as well as officer’s with long guns just to make sure that the event goes smoothly. We’re going to have a numerous amount of blocker cars, sand trucks, as well as cement barriers to make sure the outer perimeters stay secure.” 

Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill said: “As of right now, there are no credible or specific threats directed at our New Year’s events.”

“When it comes to the safety and protection we provide, there will be much the public will see and much the public won’t see,” said Commissioner O’Neill,

And reminded “I’m going to ask for the public’s continued vigilance, as I always do. There are millions of eyes and ears out there that night and if anyone sees something that doesn’t look right, that makes them feel uncomfortable, we need to know about it. You can call 9-1-1, or the City’s toll-free counter-terrorism hotline, 1-888-NYC-SAFE. You can also flag down a cop because there will be thousands of them out there that night. “

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