It's become a familiar occurence these days: A swarm of police officers and squad cars descending upon a location investigate "something suspicious." Reader John emailed us with a photograph and story about the police cordoning off an area on the western part of the loop in Central Park yesterday:

I was taking pictures, and the next thing I knew, there was influx of police officers and hardware like I've never seen in the park. They cordoned off the drive, much to the dismay of the cyclists, and wouldn't let anyone get through. At first, seeing a lot of cyclists stopped in the area, I was afraid there'd been a nasty bike accident (I overhead some passersby suspecting the same). One guy asked the police if it was related to "that guy with the backpack," which they denied. The police then told some people that there was a bag left on the drive. Perhaps all those signs saying "Si ves algo, di algo" have had some effect.

John adds that the police allowed people to leave after 10 minutes and were very professional and efficient as the crowd was calm. These events will become more and more commonplace as the NYPD does their best to show they are taking every call seriously, and Gothamist expects the Mayor and Police Commissioner will remind New Yorkers not to be frightened by them. In fact, we noticed the MTA's new signs telling commuters that bag checks can take time, which essentially translates to "Don't blame us if you're delayed in getting to work." And if you're in Central Park, biking or running, just think of the time you spend waiting as part of interval training.