Announcement bolsters New York as sports capital, but how do we handle security needed for those events?

Posted at 10:33 PM, Apr 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-25 11:23:11-04

A major announcement on Wednesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Major League Baseball and the New York Mets were a reminder of New York’s ever-growing prominence as an international sports hub, but also underscored the need for extensive security amid sports-related events of major proportions.

The announcement was the official unveiling of the Major League Baseball All Star Week in mid July.  The news conference for the announcement was in the Blue Room of City Hall, which had been reconfigured by the mayor’s staff to resemble a baseball clubhouse, complete with four past and current standouts on the New York Mets, Edgardo Alfonso, Mookie Wilson, John Franco and David Wright.

During the event, the mayor pointed out that New York was much more than just the home of this year’s All Star Game and its high profile, high attendance events.  “We also have the Super Bowl next year, the 2015 NBA All Star Game is either going to be at Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center, the NCAA Basketball Championship Regional Finals will be at MSG next year,” and the list went on.

“We are a sports capital,” the mayor declared about his city that also happens to currently have two basketball teams and at least one hockey team in the playoffs of their respective sports.

As for the Major League Baseball All Star Week announcement, the mayor and MLB leaders pointed out that apart from the actual All Star Game on July 16, the centerpiece of five days of activities will be a processional of All Star players down 42nd Street, which will be covered in red carpet for the event.  More than a million people are expected to attend.

The bombings in Boston last week were a reminder, however, that happenings on that scale require tight security.  PIX11 asked the mayor about that need for All Star Week and for the lengthening list of large scale sporting events to which the city is playing host.   The first part of his answer was couched in studied caution.

NYC prepares for extra security at sporting events“I can’t guarantee with 1000 percent accuracy that everybody’s going to be safe,” Mayor Bloomberg said.  “We all know we live in a complex, difficult, dangerous world.”

He followed that with an expression of confidence.  “If I were go to a major event, I would rather go to major event in New York City, knowing that we have the NYPD providing security here,” said the mayor.  “I and my daughters will be at most of these events.”

Of course, being mayor, he’s expected to attend most of the events of All Star Week.  As for the rest of us in the Tri-State, PIX11 asked former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton for his assessment of the security situation at major events.

“The NYPD is the best prepared police force in the country,” said the former commissioner by phone from Boston, which is obviously feeling tension currently on this issue of security at major spectator events.

“The Boston bombings are another case the NYPD can look to,” Bratton said, in its mission to improve its already high quality.  He pointed out that the department had policed every Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and numerous tickertape parades since September 11, 2001, and that it had foiled more than a dozen terror plots since then as well.