This is not a test, or was it? - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the November 2009 Juniper Berry Magazine

This is not a test, or was it?

Pedestrian bridge over LIRR on 86th Street in Middle Village. Photo: Robert Holden

On Monday November 16th while taking his usual 45 minute morning walk around the community, JPCA president Bob Holden noticed two suspicious looking men walking toward Middle Village at the pedestrian overpass over the Long Island Railroad from the Rego Park side. What made the men stand out was the fact that they appeared to be walking at a very slow pace while looking behind and from side to side. Both were carrying large backpacks and both appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent. (Now we know Mr. Obama and all of the overly sensitive politically correct pundits would not want us to write that however the 911 operator asked for a description of the men.)

As Holden walked past the men and onto the bridge the two stopped in the middle with one man looking eastbound and the other westbound as the speeding commuter trains zoomed by at 80 mph.

Holden called 911 to report suspicious looking men hanging around the overpass. How many citizens would even do that? We hope that most would but JPCA members are constantly reminded to be alert. After the 911 call and a call to the Community Affairs office of the 104th Precinct, Holden doubled back to the bridge about 10 minutes later and witnessed the same men standing looking eastbound at two trains. By then the men observed Holden hanging around on the Middle Village side so Bob called for backup as to not make the men suspicious. JPCA secretary Bob Doocey lives a block away and offered to walk to the site and keep an eye on the men until the police arrived.

About 10 minutes later Doocey arrived with no men in sight and no police. About 5 minutes later a van with two officers from the 104th Precinct School Safety squad drove up to the scene. Doocey said the men probably walked down to the other side of the bridge. One officer responded to him that because it was the area of another precinct, we don't go there.

It's amazing how fast we forget the memories and threats of 9/11/2001. With the terrorist trials coming to New York City it doesn't seem like we are really ready. God help us all.