Despite nine civilians being shot and two people killed after a disgruntled ex-employee targeted his former boss near the Empire State Building Friday morning, tourists have been undeterred in visiting the ESB all weekend. “I would have been more scared if it had been a random shooting like the one in Aurora, Colo.,” 56-year-old Florida resident Sue Bryant told the News. “But this was a specific case of a guy being angry at someone. I’m not worried. No one’s mad at me.” But how can she be so sure those flowerpots which the cops' bullets ricocheted off of aren't angry with her?
Indeed, minutes after the dramatic showdown, the ESB was re-opened to the public as many tourists wandered around the area trying to get a glimpse of what was going on. “This unfortunate event had nothing to do with the Empire State Building or with terrorism,” aid Anthony Malkin, president of Malkin Properties, which owns the building.
Experts told CNN they weren't surprised people like Bryant were somewhat unfazed by the incident: "People will reflect on this, but I do not think it will change any plans," said NYU professor Lalia Rach. "People are resilient. They understand the unfortunate nature of life and situations that occur we have no control over."
Louie Echave and his girlfriend, Jennifer Maurer, went to visit the ESB about an hour after the shooting, unaware of what happened. Apparently informed by Fox of what happened, the Swiss tourists decided to stay: "I still say it's pretty safe," Echave told them later Friday. "You can't say, in general, that New York isn't really safe because one person did something." Added Maurer: "People go crazy everywhere."
"Any visitor planning a trip to New York should feel very safe and confident that this was an isolated incident," Cristyne Nicholas, former president and CEO of NYC & Company, the city's marketing organization, told CNN. "They should be comforted that this individual was stopped in his tracks by police." Nevertheless, there was a noticeable uptick in police stationed near ESB all weekend. That brought comfort to Australian tourist Linda Signorini, who told Fox her family "felt pretty safe" by the number of officers.
Not everyone was so cavalier about what happened, including workers at the building: “Coming in to work today was tough, too fresh,” 26-year-old Miguel Castro, who works for NY Skyride, told the Post. “Every time I hear a loud sound I get scared, my heart goes fast. It’s terrible.” He seemed more disturbed by the tourists curiosity: “Tourists are coming by and asking, ‘Is this where the guy was shot?’ ” Castro said. “It’s crazy.”
Toronto tourist Bruno Bombino had gone to visit the ESB that morning, but never got inside: “It was pandemonium,” he told the Post. “I heard, ‘Pop, pop, pop!’ It hadn’t sunk in yet, but you think about it after and it’s pretty freaky,” he added. “It could have been us who got shot.”
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