NYers stand resilient after bomb explosion in Chelsea neighborhood

NEW YORK (NEWS10) – Those living in the Chelsea neighborhood where a bomb went off Saturday night said they are not backing down.

Twenty-Third Street in Chelsea remained partially closed between 6th and 7th Avenues in New York on Monday. A large police presence remained at the scene.

The only people who were allowed through were those who live and work in the area or were patrons of a few shops.

Pablo Martiniez cuts hair at Made Man Barber on 23rd Street in Chelsea. He said when he left work on Saturday, he headed toward 6th Avenue to hail a cab and walked by the garbage can where a bomb exploded moments later.

“After that, I just hear a bunch of people screaming and stuff, but I have to get in the cab,” he recalled. “And as soon as I get home, I saw the news that there was a bombing on 23rd Street.”

Less than 48 hours after the bomb exploded, people are still scared.

“Everything slowed down,” Martiniez said. “There’s a lot of people barely want to walk around now. So the people they just a little more afraid.”

On Monday, police screened people before letting them past the barricade, and investigators examined screws in the gutter as potential debris from the explosion.

“I thought we was back to a 9/11 situation,” Sixto Lopez said. “I was thinking the worst.”

Lopez lives in a building on 23rd Street right where the bomb went off. The building is now being renovated, so Lopez is staying elsewhere. He said now is the time to move forward.

“It kind of put me on the edge,” he said. “But you take that energy and you try to focus and see if everyone’s okay.”

A retired security worker, Lopez thinks the attack was part of something bigger. He said the building he lives in caters to the visually impaired.

“I believe that it was a soft spot, as we would call it in security,” he said. “I believe it was an opportunity area for them to just drop and run.”

The man police believe is responsible was taken off the streets Monday.  Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was taken into custody after a shootout with law enforcement in Linden, N.J.

Back in Chelsea, those who frequent the area said they won’t let the bomb incident stop them.

“They can keep on attacking us, but we’re not afraid,” Arquelia Vega, of Washington Heights, said. “They’re not going to put any fear in our hearts. We’re New Yorkers.”

Martiniez said an attack in New York proves those trying to cause harm will do so anywhere.

“If it happened here in New York, it could happy in Philly, it could happy in Jersey, it could happen anywhere,” he said. “You could be walking around with your kid, and a big boom just comes out of nowhere.”

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