After Port Authority Terror Blast, Resilient Commuters Carry On |

After Port Authority Terror Blast, Resilient Commuters Carry On

Straphangers, undaunted, were flowing through the subway at W. 14th St. and Eighth Ave., just a few hours after Dec. 11’s Midtown blast. Photo by Lincoln Anderson.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | An explosion of what police called a “low-tech” pipe bomb in a tunnel near the Port Authority early on the morning of Mon., Dec. 11, sent a shock through the city and a ripple of panic through one of the world’s busiest bus terminals.

Downtowners were awakened shortly after the blast to the blare of sirens and the beat of helicopters overhead as first responders raced Uptown.

Akayed Ullah, 27, was under arrest for allegedly detonating the bomb around 7:20 a.m. in an underground walkway near the Port Authority that connects the Eighth Ave. IND subway lines with the IRT lines at Times Square and the 42nd St. Shuttle.

Three people had minor injuries, Fire Department Commissioner Dan Nigro said. Ullah, meanwhile, sustained serious injuries to his hands and abdomen when he detonated the device, Nigro said, and was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called it an “attempted terrorist attack.”

Initially, police shut down major crosstown streets, including 14th St., so emergency vehicles could move about unimpeded.

Although the attack sent a ripple of fear through the city, it didn’t totally derail the morning commute.

Three hours after the bomb blast, straphangers were busy bustling in and out of the IND subway station at Eighth Ave. and W. 14th St.

“People are in the system,” an NYC Transit worker said as he emerged from the stairs at the southwest corner, on his way to buy a coffee from a nearby vendor’s cart.

“People don’t stop,” he said. “It’s New York City, it’s just a blip on the screen,” he said of the incident.

Frank Kulbaski, 51, a lawyer for PayPal at its office in the West Village, had watched reports on the blast on TV before heading in to work from Long Island City, Queens.

“The chance of getting hurt is like the chance of winning the lottery — and I haven’t had any luck with the lottery,” he shrugged.

Instead of taking the 7 train and then switching to the IRT at 42nd St., as usual, he instead hiked over to Court Square and took the E train all the way to 14th St.

“It made my commute much longer,” he said, “but I got to work.”

A woman smoking a cigarette on the sidewalk before going down into the subway said the morning’s events were shaking up her plans since she had to go all over the city.

“I’m modifying everything,” she said. “I’m a dog walker, so I’m modifying everything.”

She noted she was a third-generation Villager — “There are still some of us around!” she quipped — but didn’t want to give her name.

Two young tourists, Vincent Schablinski, 25, and Claire Jean, 23, had just bought a $5 arepa at an open-air sidewalk cooking operation on the corner, and — after Jean had taken some souvenir shots of him chowing down on it — were ready to hop into the subway. Asked if they were frightened by what had happened, they said, no.

“The city is so big,” Schablinski, from Germany, said while polishing off the arepa, “that [if] it happens to you or me — the risk is really low, actually nothing.”

They were staying at the Dream Downtown hotel in the Meatpacking District and, clearly undaunted, were heading up to take a look at yet another major transit hub: Grand Central Terminal.