Urban Exploring Helps Keep City Safe From Terrorism

March 27, 2015 | Liam Mathews

The MTA and NYPD will be fast-tracking new security measures on the city’s bridges, CBS reported Thursday, thanks to ANIMAL’s photos of the Triborough Bridge. Authorities have been on alert over illicit bridge-climbing since last summer, when some artists climbed the Brooklyn Bridge and swapped the American flag at the top for a white one, and the photos of the Harlem Lift Span’s control room was apparently the last straw.

“People just have to learn to stay off those damn bridges,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the Daily News on Thursday.

Bratton said that more security cameras will be placed on the bridges, as well as gates that restrict access to the cables climbers use to scale the bridges. The gates are already in place on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“We are working with the NYPD to investigate this incident and are accelerating some planned security enhancements at the bridge,” MTA Spokesman Adam Lisberg told CBS. “Trespassing anywhere on MTA property is dangerous and I hope people who risk their lives to take these photographs get arrested before they get killed.”

To one bridge expert, the real fear isn’t urban explorers damaging the bridge, but terrorists scaling it:

Bridge expert Dave Frieder, who went to the top on a photo shoot with MTA officials, said the men couldn’t have moved the lift bridge because they didn’t have a key to the machinery. But still, he says the security worries are serious.

“If a terrorist got up there, they could cause severe damage to the bridge, unfortunately. (What could they do?) They could destroy the machine room, they could put explosives up there, this really worries me,” Frieder said.

Bratton, however, said he is not worried about terrorists blowing up the control room. “To actually cause significant damage you’re going to have to lug an awful lot of stuff up there,” he said. “We’re not concerned about any significant security or terrorism related issue up there.”

(Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)