A group of artists intentionally caused terror and confusion in Washington Square park yesterday — by simulating a terrorist attack.
The group Artists for Israel, aided by Birthright Israel, set up a full-size Israeli bomb shelter in the middle of the park yesterday. They blasted sirens and simulated the boom of rockets hitting earth. Participants were given 15 seconds to run for shelter.
“There were people running,” said Arief Hussain, 34, a hot dog vendor in the park. “I didn’t know what was going on.”
But once the sirens started wailing, the NYPD and the Parks Department teamed up to shut down the event at 1:30, just half an hour after it began. “They didn’t have a permit,” said Detective James Alberici of the 6th Precinct.
Parks Department and NYPD officers kept a watchful eye on the rest of the exhibit, which also drew the ire of pro-Palestinian groups.
“What’s offensive is that the city of New York gives a permit for an Israeli shelter,” said Manhattan therapist Jane Hirschmann. “When they know there are no shelters for the people of Palestine.”
Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter at @EmilyatMetro.