New York City Christmas Market Now Guarded by Heavily Armed and Armored Cops

Fifteen Christmases after 9/11, terrorists have gone from hijacking airliners to hijacking trucksand the NYPD is amping up already tight security.”>

The smell of hot apple cider wafted into the crisp night air from Booth A42 at the Union Square Holiday Market in Manhattan.

GERMAN DELIGHTS, read the sign.

Below that, it said, Theres a little German in everyone.

The woman behind the counter, 24-year-old Sabine Edelburg of Bremen, was assisting a young man who was making a purchase.

Really good gingerbread, she said. Is it a gift for someone?

Yes, the young man said.

You need a plastic bag?

No, thank you.

He turned away and a second young man appeared from the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of shoppers.

Apple cider, please, he said.

He reached out to take a bar of Mozart chocolate as well.

I love that chocolate, he said,

There are only four left, Edelburg said. Its very delicious.

An East Asian man stopped on seeing the sign announcing that the booth also offered a drink called Gluehwein.

We tried it once, he said. It was delicious. One Gluehwein, please!

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Im sorry, we have no more, Edelburg told him. Its run out. Next season.

He settled for a cider and rejoined the shoppers flowing bright eyed amid the festive stalls and decorative lights, all seeming to be the stuff of some Yuletime imagining. He then passed five police officers from the NYPDs Critical Response Command (CRC), who stood in helmets and body armor, holding automatic weapons.

They have assault rifles! a woman was saying as she went by.

She may have been coming from a low-key, post-election demonstration on the other side of the square, where a small number of protesters were singing This Little Light of Mine and holding signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and opposing misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, as well as police surveillance of Muslim communities.

You know why were out here, right? one of the CRC cops asked her. Because of Berlin.

The cop was referring to the terror attack in Berlin in which a fanatic had driven a tractor trailer into a holiday market very much like this one in New York, killing 12. German authorities were conducting a manhunt for a Tunisian citizen named Anis Amris, who was on that countrys terrorist watch list and subject to surveillance and would have been deported had his country of origin not refused to accept him. He turns 24 on Thursday, meaning he had been just 8 years old when the 9/11 attacks signaled the start of a war that seems to have no end.

If nothing ever happens and nobody needs us, we couldnt be happier, the CRC cop in New York now said.

He added, But, if something does happen and were not here, theyll be saying, Where were they?

A sixth CRC cop had been over by a line of police vehicles, donning his gear. He joined his comrades, making it a half dozen who continued the vigil. Other CRC teams were at other holiday markets in Manhattan, as well by the big Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and in Times Square. They were keeping a particular eye out for the latest threat.

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