An explosion occurred around 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning in a subway tunnel below the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Here’s what we know so far.
According to the Associated Press, a man had “a pipe bomb strapped to his body” when it went off. There are conflicting reports about whether he was the only person injured or if there was one other injured person in addition. The injury or injuries are being reported as non-life-threatening.
The MTA diverted a number of subway lines as a result of the explosion. The 1/2/3, N/Q/R/W, and 7 trains are bypassing Times Square–42nd Street. A and E trains are bypassing the 42nd Street–Port Authority Bus Terminal station. The L stops at Sixth Avenue. The 42nd Street shuttle and the B are not running. M trains are also not running in Manhattan or Queens. Eighth Avenue is closed from around 48th Street to below 40th Street.
Update 9:36 a.m.: From Village Voice editor Neil deMause trying to get to work: “At Church Avenue, no announcement about the myriad service changes except that trains are skipping 42nd Street ‘due to a police investigation.’ Those commuters skipping the G to wait for the F are going to be sorely disappointed when it doesn’t go to Manhattan.”
Update 9:41 a.m.: In a joint press conference with Governor Andrew Cuomo and MTA chairman Joe Lhota, Mayor Bill de Blasio says this was an “attempted terrorist attack” and there are “no additional known incidents” or activities at this time. “All we know of is one individual who thank God was unsuccessful in his aims.”
Update 9:45 a.m.: NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill says the explosion occurred in the tunnel between the 1/2/3 and the 42nd Street Shuttle. The suspect in custody is 27-year-old Akayed Ullah. Commissioner O’Neill added that the suspect “intentionally” detonated it. There were three other minor injuries.
Update 9:47 a.m.: MTA commissioner Joe Lhota says all the lines are back in service. The only disruptions remaining are on the Seventh and Eighth avenue lines, which are bypassing their respective 42nd Street stops, as well as suspension of the 42nd Street Shuttle service. The MTA expects service to be resumed by the evening rush.
Update 10:12 a.m.: A quick clarification on where exactly the explosion occurred. Commissioner O’Neill said, “At approximately 7:20 in a belowground walkway, which connects the IND line at Four-Two and 8th Avenue with the IRT line at 42 and 7, and that’s the Shuttle at Times Square and the 1, 2, and 3 train…” Obviously, there is no tunnel between the 1/2/3 and 42nd Street Shuttle. The explosion occurred in the long tunnel below 42nd Street between the A/C/E at Port Authority at Eighth Avenue and the 1/2/3 and S at Seventh Avenue.
Update 1:11 p.m.: In a brief telephone interview, Harvard security expert Bruce Schneier tells the Voice that, based on the information available at this time, there’s nothing the city could have done to prevent this type of attack. Single-actor attacks, he says, are almost impossible to prevent. Instead, he suggests putting the risk of terrorism in context: Compared to other risks we expose ourselves to every single day, the threat of terrorism is infinitesimally small, even in New York. As just one example, 179 people have died in traffic fatalities this year, and another 46,000 have been injured. In enacting “security theater” to try and prevent the unpreventable, Schneier argues, we do more damage to ourselves than terrorists do to us. His advice: “Get over it.”
We will update this post with more information as it becomes available.