Police Investigation Prompts Evacuation of a Section of Broadway Theatre District

News   Police Investigation Prompts Evacuation of a Section of Broadway Theatre District
Broadway theatregoers and tourists were evacuated from Times Square and some cross streets the evening of May 1 when a suspicious vehicle parked on West 45th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues produced smoke. Police are investigating it as a potential car bomb, according to the New York Times.

There were reports of some delays of Broadway curtains due to the incident, which prevented some theatregoers from getting to their theatres on time. When the incident came to light, apparently after 6:30 PM, police started blocking off Times Square between 43rd and 46th Streets.

Smoke pouring from a parked car led police to contact firefighters and bomb-squad personnel, who discovered "explosive elements" such as propane tanks, gasoline and more in the car, the New York Times reported, citing a police spokesperson.

There was no explosion, though there were some early reports that a small boom or pop preceded the smoke. Broadway shows on or near West 45th Street include Next to Normal, The Lion King, God of Carnage, Red, Billy Elliot, Lend Me a Tenor and Come Fly Away.

Playbill.com learned that the curtain of Mary Poppins went up on schedule on West 42nd Street, as did the curtain of La Cage aux Folles on West 48th Street. The Enron company on West 44th Street learned shortly before 8 PM that there was a nearby police action, so the curtain was delayed for a few minutes. At the end of the performance, around 10:30 PM, an announcement was made to the audience that they should exit west toward Eighth Avenue and not toward Times Square. One observer told Playbill.com, "The police were not kidding around. They hustled people out."

The Marriott Marquis Hotel was said to be on lockdown at some point Saturday evening. As late as 10:30 PM some subway riders in the area were stranded by delayed or halted trains. Playbill.com will offer a later update about the status of the Sunday May 2 matinees, but it's expected that shows will go on.

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