The building where I work is right near Bryant Park, and pretty much every other day, 3 zillion NYPD patrol cars scream down out up around over under 42nd Street with their sirens like banshees. At first, it terrified the shit out of me. Every day it would happen, I'd have to take a few minutes to rid myself of millenarian visions: David Remnick running out of the Conde Nast building in flames.
Out at lunch this beautiful fall Friday, it was happening yet again. For a couple years now, I've avoided trying to find out why they do this thing almost every day of the week on a street right below where my vulnerable 7th Floor office sits ready to be rammed into by a plane, a dirty bomb, an exploding manhole cover, or a large bird of prey. I almost didn't want to know the reason. In the echoing silence after the cars had all dissappeared, I saw a police officer who didn't look too busy (or too racist--trust me, you can tell) and, in a particularly cavalier move for me, I approached.
I learned that this drill, started in 2003 as an anti-terrorism procedure, is called a "surge." I also learned that they do these in different parts of the city on different days. They choose locations where there are hotels, office buildings, subway stations, and the like (basically, anywhere where there are a lot of people who are trying to live their lives in relative peace, away from blaring police sirens). From googling:
The purpose here is to drill cops in their squad cars, so they can execute coordinated assembly in all parts of the city.
Now I'm no security strategist or nothing, but if you have all the might of the city flexing their muscle on a single street in midtown, who the fuck's covering the rest of the city. I was about to say as much to the cop, but thought better of it. Instead, I thanked him for informing me about this very timely and important - and ingenious! - tactical procedure. I said it with the intensity meant to convey that I was grateful for his services as a cop. And as I was walking away, I heard him say, in a very snide, sarcastic way: "Do you feel safe now?"
I knew it...Racist ass cop.