The NYPD has shut down part of Times Square as it investigates a "suspicious vehicle." Apparently the vehicle, a 1992 white Dodge van with temporary plates and tarp over its windows, has been parked on Broadway between 41st and 42nd Streets for two days. We hear the bomb squad is on the way. Just in time for New Year's Eve festivities!
Update: City Room reports there was a fake placard for a NY/NJ police entity and that there's no decision to move the van yet. Plus, occupants of 7 Times Square were asked to move to the west side of building, but not allowed to leave.
Update 12:41 p.m.: We hear that some buildings may be preparing to evacuate (can anyone confirm?). MyFoxNY has live video of the scene—it's weird to see Times Square so quiet.
And let's recall Mayor Bloomberg's words about New Year's Eve security from earlier this week: "If you see anything, they'll be plenty of police officers to talk to. Walk up and say, 'Hey, I may be wrong, but that guy looks nefarious.'"
Update 12:50 p.m.: The police have finally opened up the van. We guess we'll have to wait to find out what was inside!
Update 12:58 p.m.: As readers have noted, a few buildings around Times Square, such as 4TS and 7TS were evacuated. But now we hear that occupants can head back, because police found no explosives or threat. Police are still examining the van; we image the owner will at least get a ticket.
Update 1:17 p.m.: Still no word on what was—if anything—inside the van. The Daily News reports, "Police shut down several streets after officers in a passing patrol car spotted the white 1992 Dodge van just past 11 a.m.," while the Post found a police officer telling pedestrians to stay away, "I wouldn’t stay here. We’re looking at a van we don’t like."
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne had said, "This is not as the result of finding anything. It’s just a precaution. All it is right now is a suspicious vehicle parked where it is not supposed to be... The fact that it is in a sensitive area that is close to where there will be large crowds gathering cause us concern. It may turn out to be nothing more than an illegally parked vehicle but because of the location we are taking this precaution."
Update 3 p.m.: City Room reported that the police only found clothing inside: "[Browne] said there was no indication the van was used as a diversionary tactic by a would-be harm-doer; nor do investigators believe it was there to test the police response to such an event. He said there was a temporary, or paper, registration for the vehicle inside of it. Using that, he said, the police are trying 'to identify the owner.'"