Inside bomb targets, people voice fear Tunnels, U.N. garage monitored

June 25, 1993|By New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- At the terror targets yesterday, relief mixed uneasily with dark thoughts of the hellish destruction that might have been.

As authorities quietly beefed up security around the spots on the alleged terrorists' hit list -- the United Nations, 26 Federal Plaza and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels -- many contemplated the second frightening reminder in four months that life in New York can never be the same.

"I'm riding through the Holland Tunnel and they're announcing the four spots," said Steve Katz, 38, of Brooklyn, who heard the announcement on his van's radio. "Sure, I was nervous."

"We're sitting in traffic and I'm saying, 'What if the mother blows up a bomb now?'" said another motorist, Tracy Kirk, 35. "You can't do anything about it. But it's something you think about."

The Port Authority, which also runs the World Trade Center, said it had increased security around the tunnels, which carry 70 million vehicles annually and can hold several thousand passengers at a given time.

Port Authority police chief Charles Knox said the agency employs 1,400 officers, but would not say how many were assigned to the tunnels.

At 26 Federal Plaza -- allegedly called "The Center" by the suspected terrorists because it houses the FBI -- uniformed police from the Federal Protective Service patrolled outside yesterday, along lower Broadway.

The security was particularly thick at the entrance to the sprawling building's underground garage, which is used by government officials.

About 10,000 employees for 80 federal agencies work in the usually heavily guarded building -- the target of numerous bomb threats -- and more than 4,000 visitors pass through metal detectors daily.

While a spokeswoman for the federal General Services Administration declined comment, workers said they were shook by the news.

"To hear there's a possible threat on this building, it makes me worried for my safety," said Arvette Segar, 29, an employee of the department of Housing and Urban Development.

Officials at the United Nations remained tight-lipped, though it was apparent from the extra guards on duty and the handful of New York Police Department officers patrolling nearby that security had been boosted.

At the U.N.'s private underground garage -- the apparent planned target of a terror bomb -- guards stopped cars, opened trunks and used mirrors to check for packages hidden under seats.

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