MANHATTAN – A busy stretch of Fifth Avenue near the Metropolitan Museum of Art was shut down as NYPD officers as well as the bomb squad and federal agents swarmed the Upper East Side after a report of a suspicious package Thursday morning, at the entrance to the Ancient Playground between the 86th Street transverse.
Officers were seeing staging inside the entrance to the westbound 86th Street transverse with some investigators evaluating the suspicious device within the entrance to the playground some 50 feet away.
Fifth Avenue between East 84th and 86th Streets was shut down for hours as crews investigated the suspicious device. Even NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller was at the scene making phone calls as well as officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives.
A law-enforcement source who viewed a photograph of the suspicious device described it to Upper East Site as a box with wires sticking out of it chained to a fence.
Hours later, crime scene investigators could be seen putting down evidence markers and taking photos of the padlocked black plastic box, now bearing several holes cut into the top and sides of the box by the NYPD Bomb Squad, so they could examine its contents.
Pedestrians trying to make their appointments were turned away by the officers, some of them upset and even yelling that ‘their time wasn’t valuable’ to the police, in what can only be described as a thoughtless comment, considering the possibility of an explosive device nearby.
It’s not exactly clear how police discovered the device or what time it was found, the NYPD’s 19th Precinct serving the Upper East Side tweeted the first alert to the suspicious device at 9:16 this morning, warning pedestrians and drivers to avoid the area.
The NYPD confirmed to Upper East Site just before noon, the bomb squad has cleared the device as being non-explosive, though further details were not immediately available.