A peaceful beginning to the workweek was shattered Monday after an explosion rattled through one of the busiest transit hubs in New York City, causing the authorities to evacuate hundreds of commuters and throwing the morning into chaos.
The Police Department said that one person was in custody after the blast echoed through the passageway connecting the Times Square and Port Authority subway stations shortly before 7:30 a.m.
A senior city official who declined to be identified because of the continuing investigation said that the suspect had been wearing an explosive device and that the police had partially stripped him.
The subway stations were evacuated, and Port Authority bus station was also shut down.
The suspect was alone, and the device was reported to have gone off prematurely. The explosion was recorded on surveillance video, the city official said.
Soon after the explosion was reported, the commutes of New Yorkers miles away from the blast became chaotic. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority reported that 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, N, Q, R, W and 7 trains were skipping 42nd Street.
Commuters underground near 40th Street and 8th Avenue began to flee after the loud, muffled sound was heard in the Port Authority subway station. Police officers, firefighters and Port Authority counterterrorism officials tried to clear people from the bus station and the west side of 8th Avenue as sirens blared.
Andre Rodriguez, 62, a caseworker at one of the city’s shelters, said he heard the explosion around 7:30.
“I was going through the turnstile,” he said. “It sounded like an explosion, and everybody started running.”
Alicja Wlodkowski, 51, said that she had been in a restaurant inside the Port Authority when she suddenly saw a crowd of people running.
“A woman fell, and nobody even stopped to help her because it was so crazy,” she said. Then it all slowed down. I was standing and watching and scared.”