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Security beefed up in NYC after Boston explosions

Published: Monday, April 15 2013 5:05 p.m. MDT

A New Jersey State Police helicopter flies near the construction site of One World Trade Center in Manhattan seen from The Heights neighborhood of Jersey City, N.J., Monday, April 15, 2013. New York is securing its city in the wake of explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon.  (Julio Cortez, Associated Press) A New Jersey State Police helicopter flies near the construction site of One World Trade Center in Manhattan seen from The Heights neighborhood of Jersey City, N.J., Monday, April 15, 2013. New York is securing its city in the wake of explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon. (Julio Cortez, Associated Press)

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department stepped up security at hotels and landmark locations like the World Trade Center site, Empire State Building and Times Square on Monday following explosions at the Boston Marathon.

Critical response teams, which are highly visible patrol units that travel in packs with lights and sirens, are being deployed throughout the city until more about the explosion is learned, chief police spokesman Paul Browne said.

"We anticipate keeping a robust presence in place until we learn more," Browne said. "There's a high level of concern about what happened in Boston."

More than 1,000 counterterrorism officers were mobilized, along with the thousands of other officers on patrol. Highly trafficked areas like Times Square, Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan, the United Nations, and the World Trade Center site were being especially monitored, police said.

Police monitor New York's Times Square during an increase in security following an explosion at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013.   (Bebeto Matthews, Associated Press) Police monitor New York's Times Square during an increase in security following an explosion at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013. (Bebeto Matthews, Associated Press)

Times Square teemed as usual, with tourists seemingly unconcerned about any possible heightened risk. One area was being emptied — but for a movie shoot, not for security. Helicopters buzzed overhead.

Shelly Bybee, 42, a teacher from Austin, Texas, said the idea of public safety is more on her mind when she is in a large public space than when she isn't, and particularly in New York, given the Sept. 11 attacks.

But, "that was on my mind even before I heard about the explosion in Boston," she said. Overall, "I feel like we should continue living and go about our business."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the state division of homeland security and emergency services to be on heightened alert. There was no report of a specific threat to New York, officials said.

A police officer patrols the area in front of the Barclays Center in New York, Monday, April 15, 2013, before a Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball game in the wake of the explosions at the Boston Marathon.   (Kathy Willens, Associated Press) A police officer patrols the area in front of the Barclays Center in New York, Monday, April 15, 2013, before a Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball game in the wake of the explosions at the Boston Marathon. (Kathy Willens, Associated Press)

Security was also beefed up within the subways. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it was also stepping up patrols on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North commuter rails. Bags may be searched.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the department was fully prepared to protect the city.

"Some of the security steps we are taking may be noticeable," Bloomberg said. "And others will not be."

The blasts occurred at the finish line of the marathon. The explosions have killed two people and injured at least 70 others. The cause wasn't known.

The New York Road Runners, operators of the ING New York City Marathon that was canceled last November following Superstorm Sandy, said security was their top priority.

"We will continue to work hand in hand with the City of New York and the NYPD as we plan for upcoming events," they said in a statement.

The NYPD regularly steps up security in the city as a precaution based on incidents in other locations.

Maria Martone, 45, of Cape Cod, Mass, was visiting New York with husband Michael, 50; their daughter, Miranda, 15, and a teen friend of Miranda's.

Michael Martone said that if the point of the explosions was to frighten people "you've got to resist as much as you can."

Associated Press Writer Deepti Hajela contributed to this report.

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