The next time you’re passing through the subway stations at Times Square, Grand Central or Penn Station, odds are you’re being filmed and watched by people manning the NYPD’s Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center.


Roughly 500 MTA cameras in these three major transit hubs — which had been previously installed but remained unworkable — began feeding real-time images to the police department yesterday.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly hope the newly-live surveillance cameras will help prevent terrorist attacks and subway crime. The cameras will be able to zoom in and catch unattended bags or people in restricted areas and be able to search for objects, movement and color.


“If we’re looking for a person in a red jacket, we can call up everyone in a red jacket for 30 days,” Kelly said.


The MTA cameras now comprise most of the 689 cameras between 30th and 60th streets for the NYPD’s Midtown Manhattan Security Initiative, a $200 million project expanding the “ring of steel” network of security cameras in Lower Manhattan. The NYPD expects to have 3,000 public and private cameras eventually watching, up from the current 1,159.