NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City’s Times Square was closed briefly and three nearby buildings, including the Nasdaq stock exchange, were evacuated in a security scare on Wednesday, police said, a day before the traditional New Year’s Eve festivities in the famed intersection.
The street closings and evacuations were prompted by a police investigation of a suspicious van that local media reported had been parked on Broadway for two days.
No explosives were found in the van, which police examined with robots and remote cameras.
The typically busy Times Square intersection, Nasdaq stock exchange building and two other buildings were cleared of people during the investigation which lasted about two hours.
Times Square was already crowded with tourists and a heavy police presence ahead of the traditional New Year’s Eve festivities and the dropping of a giant lit ball at midnight on December 31.
The evacuation did not have a major impact on the Nasdaq market, said Joe Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade.
“There was a quick small sell-off in equities which would be more attributable to people closing some positions in fear of an electronic breakdown rather than initiating speculative short positions,” he said.
The incident took place less than a week after a botched attempt on Christmas Day to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner. The airline incident has prompted heightened air travel security.