Six Places in Brooklyn That Could Be Terror TargetsOne wouldn't expect terrorists to care much about, say, Gowanus or Brighton Beach, Jamaica Bay or, say, the Park Slope Food Coop. Borough Hall isn't nearly as juicy a target as the Pentagon. Still, Brooklyn has some high visibility locations that make one stop and wonder.
The following is an unofficial list of six places in Brooklyn that have already been, or might be, targets for a terrorist attack.
1. The NYC Subways: It goes without saying that the NYC subway system, city-wide, is an area of concern regarding terrorism. Millions ride it daily. As recently as 2010, an Afghan immigrant was convicted of a subway bombing plot in New York. (See NY Times article Guilty Plea Made in Plot to Bomb New York Subway).
2. The Brooklyn Bridge: Iconic as it is, and much-beloved, the Brooklyn Bridge seems a vulnerable landmark. It has image cache: as a global symbol of New York City, photos of the Brooklyn Bridge are, arguably, in the same league as the Empire State Building. Since September 11, 2001, special security precautions have been taken on the Brooklyn Bridge against possible terrorist attack. (See NY Times article A Bridge Under Scrutiny, by Plotters and the Police).
3. Atlantic Avenue Terminal: Atlantic Avenue Terminal is one of the largest subway and rail hubs in New York City, connecting multiple subway lines to one another and to the Long Island Railroad. It's located near a popular mall on a busy street. This terminal was the target of a plot in 1997. (See NY Times article Police Break Up Suspected Bomb Plot in Brooklyn.)
4. Brooklyn's Other Bridges: Aside from the Brooklyn Bridge, other high visibility Brooklyn bridges include the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Staten Island, and the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges. (See September 2011 NY Daily News article, Barricades have been Added to the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges to Prevent Terrorist Activity.)
There's always beefed up security at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, too.
5. Brooklyn's Industrial Warehouses & Sites: As a holdover from the borough's days as a manufacturing center, various industrial and storage facilities salted throughout the borough that could, if ignited, cause catastrophic health consequences. (See NY Times article about chlorine storage in a Brooklyn warehouse.)
6. Schools, Hospitals: Brooklyn's home to some large high schools, hospitals, and colleges. Obviously, an attack on children, students or hospitals would inflict immense emotional damage. In 2011, a lone gunman with extremist views did just that in an attack on a youth gathering in Norway.
And, special events. In 2013, the Boston Marathon bombings raised questions about the security of other major public events, including, presumably, the ING NY Marathon, which is run primarily through Brooklyn..
Obviously, the above lists of vulnerable spots in Brooklyn represents an educated guess, a citizen's perspective on Brooklyn sites that might be vulnerable. For obvious security reasons, the NYPD and federal officials are not singling out any specific location as vulnerable. That said, these are common sense locations—and given the number of people using them, it pays to be vigilant.
Over a Dozen Possible NYC Terrorist Attacks Thwarted in Decade, Says City HallMuch as New Yorkers would generally resist the fatalism of those who say "it's not if, but when" about another terrorist attack here, homeland security remains an issue in the city. Public notification of a potential security threat in New York City was issued, for instance, on September 8, 2011, just days before the city-wide commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11,2001. During that decade, the NYPD reportedly stopped 13 potential terrorist attacks on New York, according to a 2011 City Hall press statement by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
If You See Something, Say SomethingWhen alerts are issued, New Yorkers are asked to keep their eyes open, and if you "see something, say something." NYC Mayor Bloomberg, advised, "If you see something potentially suspicious, call 311. And if you see something that you think is potentially dangerous, call 911."
It can work. In 2010, a would-be car bomber targeting Times Square was arrested thanks to an alert citizen who, remembering the If You See Something, Say Something slogan, alerted authorities to a suspicious car, and prevented potential mayhem. (Read the story.)
The If You See Something, Say Something campaign, now nationwide, was launched by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from the Department of Homeland Security's Transit Security Grant Program.
So, Brooklyn, keep your eyes open. And should you see something odd, especially around the above six locations or others, then, well, you know what to do.