Let's begin this post by saying there's no reason to worry, everybody is fine. (We've always wanted to write that — because let's be honest, when we start conversations with our mom that way she goes bananas.) See, there was a small explosion in Times Square early this morning, but nobody was hurt. Apparently somebody tossed an explosive device at a U.S. military recruiting center just before 4 a.m. today. The office's window was smashed, and a door was damaged. Traffic was interrupted for a while, but now it appears to be back to normal. The Department of Homeland Security says it's investigating whether it was terrorism-related, but according to NY1, there wasn't a sense of panic in the area this morning. Explained droll host Pat Kiernan: "It seemed people were annoyed by the nuisance as much as anything."
Small explosion hits New York's Times Square [Reuters]
Update: Mayor Bloomberg just held a press conference about this. It turns out that it was a bomb in an ammunition box. Bloomberg called the attack on the recruitment office an insult to our troops and added that "New York City is back and open for business." NYPD chief Ray Kelly said the device was not "particularly sophisticated" and explained that there is one witness who saw a suspicious hooded man on a bicycle passing the recruiting station just before the explosion.
And so it has finally happened: The U.S. Department of Transportation just announced it will give New York City a $354 million grant to implement a congestion-pricing system in the city. It's not quite the $500 million Mayor Bloomberg and Dan Doctoroff told everyone the city stood to receive, but it's a whole lot more than nothing, too. It's a big win for the mayor, except for one thing. The Feds will only pay out on that grant if the state legislature signs off by March of next year — which means that seventeen-member commission formed just after the (alleged) application deadline pass a plan before then, and the city council, too, must agree to it. Shelly Silver, we think, is going to have a whole lot more fun.
U.S. Offers New York Millions for Congestion Pricing [City Room/NYT]
Earlier:Daily Intel's coverage of congestion pricing
• The Feds are expected to announce today that, yes indeed, they'll shell out the big bucks necessary for Bloomberg to execute his congestion-pricing dream plan — if Albany passes it first, that is. [NYT]
British Prime Minster Gordon Brown, who spent the past two days golf-carting around Camp David with President Bush, arrived in New York last night, where he met with President Clinton to talk about his anti-poverty plans and then gave a speech today at the United Nations on the same topic. (After which employees massed to photograph him while he spoke to reporters.) We'd mention the details of the plan, but the more relevant part is this: That's why there were all those cops around the Waldorf yesterday and today. Just in case you're curious. (We were.)
Earlier:President Bush and His Toy Car