New York police and event organizers are beefing up security after the Boston Marathon bombings to protect a Revlon Inc.-sponsored charity race through midtown Manhattan and a citywide bicycle tour this weekend.
Police helicopters will use surveillance cameras above the 32,000 riders in the May 5 TD Five-Boro Bike Tour as part of a “counter-terrorism overlay,” said Paul Browne, a deputy commissioner. Organizers have banned use of strap-on hydration backpacks.
About 11,000 people who have signed up for tomorrow’s EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women from 47th Street and Seventh Avenue into Central Park have been told to leave their backpacks at home and carry personal items in clear plastic bags. Event organizers expect to raise about $1.2 million to promote women’s health care, according to Rico Leno, a spokesman.
“We’re going to provide an increased police presence, both seen and unseen,” Browne said in a telephone interview. “It’s all as a result of Boston.”
Police and federal agents in Boston say the April 15 attack, which killed three and injured more than 260, was the work of two brothers who dropped two backpacks containing homemade bombs near the marathon finish line. The new rules are intended to minimize the presence of backpacks at large-crowd events, Browne said.
The 40-mile (64-kilometer) bike tour will start at 8 a.m. north of Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and finish in Staten Island. This year the event is dedicated to raising money for Boston victims, said its organizer, Kenneth Podzhiba.
Browne said the camera-equipped helicopters will send images viewable to officers with tablet devices on the ground. Uniformed police on scooters will escort the cyclists, and some participants will be on-duty officers in plain clothes. Heavily armed sharpshooters will be deployed, and police boats will be stationed near bridges, Browne said.
Tour riders may pay a suggested $5 for “I Ride for Boston” stickers, with the proceeds going to The One Fund Boston, a charity set up to aid attack victims, Podziba said.
“We’ve received an overwhelming response from our heavy- hearted riders who want to be able to express their solidarity with Boston,” said Podziba, president of Bike New York, which organizes the annual event.
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