The blast occurred after someone threw a device before dawn at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station located on the traffic island between Broadway and 7th Avenue bounded by 43rd and 44th streets, police said.
The site is surrounded by theaters, restaurants and retail stores, but most were closed at the time of the explosion. Times Square is one of the city’s busiest crossroads.
Thursday’s blast shattered a large portion of the building’s front window, but no injuries were reported, police said.
SQUARE CORDONED OFF
Police and fire crews cordoned off Times Square and diverted underground subway trains for several hours, but normal traffic resumed by the start of the morning rush hour, according to the New York City Transit Authority.
The United States Homeland Security Department said it was investigating whether there was a terrorism link to the explosion amid reports that someone riding a bicycle may have thrown the small bomb at the recruiting station.
Witnesses staying in nearby hotels, including at a Marriott hotel four blocks away, said they could feel the impact of the blast.
MARRIOT HOTEL SHAKING
"I was up on the 44th floor and I could feel it. It was a big bang," The Associated Press news agency quoted Marriot guest Darla Peck, 25, of Portland, Oregon as saying.
"It shook the building. I thought it could have been thunder, but I looked down and there was a massive plume of smoke so I knew it was an explosion," added Terry Leighton, 48, of London, who was staying on the 21st floor of the Marriot.
It was expected to add to anxiety among people in New York, still recalling the September 11 attacks that killed thousands of people after two planes were deliberately crashed into the Twin Towers. Several church groups have been involved in counseling and humanitarian aid following the 9/11 attacks. (With BosNewsLife’s Anti-Terror Task Force covering the threats of our time).