"NY City Mayor 'Bunkering Down' for New Year" - REUTERS

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Wednesday December 22

NY Mayor 'Bunkering Down' for New Year

By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Big Apple's millennium party might be taking place in Times Square on New Year's Eve, but Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is staying in -- specifically, in his specially designed, bulletproof bunker.

Giuliani, who prefers to call the facility an ``emergency command center,'' said on CBS News ``Early Show'' on Tuesday that he and the city's police, fire and other commissioners would be ushering in the millennial new year at the facility in the World Trade Center.

``We're going to use it for the Y2K turnover of the city,'' Giuliani said. ``Every commissioner will be working just in case there's a problem in the switch-over to the new year. We've spent $320 to $330 million for the last two and a half years getting ready for Y2K, making sure that everything works. We've checked it out two or three times, but you never know.''

Police last week arrested Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian-born Montreal resident, for allegedly attempting to smuggle explosives into the United States. The arrest raised fears that guerrillas may be planning to mark the New Year with bombing attacks in the United States.

Asked at a later City Hall news conference about fears of terrorist attacks on the city, Giuliani said ``all of it concerns me,'' but hastened to add, ``I really think people should not allow themselves to get over-excited about this.''

He told CBS that his hunkering down in the bunker, which is reportedly outfitted with special air filters for biological and chemical prevention, was not a sign that he was privy to any specific threat.

``It has a lot of things -- we think it's state-of-the-art,'' he said. But he said the city had ``very, very effective security plans ... that have been in effect for about two or three years.''

Giuliani told the news conference there was no way to guarantee 100 percent safety -- ``that's life,'' he said -- but assured New Yorkers that ``everything is being done to create a safe environment.''

With thousands of police officers on hand for New York's big Times Square, 24-hour party, the mayor said it would probably be among the safest places in the city. Some 18,000 officers will be on duty throughout the city.

Giuliani will actually emerge from the bunker before midnight on New Year's Eve, making the trek to Times Square for the traditional ball drop which this year is expected to be witnessed live by over one million revelers.

Other city and utility officials said that up to five years of preparations had paid off, with the city ``well prepared'' for any Y2K computer glitches when the year turns to 2000. Power giant Con Ed said some 2,000 employees would be working over the New Year's weekend, up from the usual 500 to 800, and added that customers do not need to take any ``unusual steps'' in anticipation of problems.

Transit, telephone, police and fire officials said they had planned for every contingency, and Police Commissioner Howard Safir said his department was in ``constant contact'' with federal officials regarding any specific threats against New York City.

Hospital officials said they had stockpiled 30 days worth of medications, instead of the usual one week's worth, while environmental officials noted with some relief that their area, which includes the city's water system, was not especially dependent upon electronic technology.


-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), December 22, 1999


I saw this one too. Giuliani said, ``I really think people should not allow themselves to get over-excited about this.'' I would probably feel the same way if I had a bulletproof bunker like his.

-- mil (millenium@yahoo.com), December 22, 1999.

Giuliani will actually emerge from the bunker before midnight on New Year's Eve...

And if he sees his shadow, that means.....?

-- Cement Truck Driver (We Seal Bunker Doors@Holiday.Rates), December 22, 1999.

"If he see's his shadow that means?" I guess that depends on whether the shadow is created by streetlights, burning buildings, or etched into the concrete by a nuclear inferno.

-- Nikoli Krushev (doomsday@y2000.com), December 22, 1999.

Now why is it that the mayor of NYC hunkers down in a 30 million bunker its considered prudent, but if Bruce Beach does it in a junked school bus he's considered a nutcase?

-- a (a@a.a), December 22, 1999.

That man is just so irritating. (A NYer.)

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), December 22, 1999.

Thats funny on CNN this morning he gave every implications he would not be in a bunker but would be out with the Crowd.


politicians will earn their money in the next two weeks for sure!!

-- d----- (dciinc@aol.com), December 22, 1999.

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