Tourists were evacuated from Time Square and the surrounding area as police officers dismantled a car bomb, which was discovered at around 6.30pm (22.30 GMT) yesterday.
The bomb was “amateurish” but potentially very powerful, according to New York police.
Police discovered two 19-litre petrol containers, consumer-grade fireworks, three propane tanks, and two clocks with batteries, electrical wire and other components.
Police acted on a tip-off from Duane Jackson, a 58-year-old a street vendor who saw smoke coming from a Nissan Pathfinder parked on 45th Street and Seventh Avenue at about 1830 (2230 GMT) on Saturday.
“Smoke started coming out and then we heard the little pop, pop, pop – like firecrackers going out and that’s when everybody scattered and ran back. We dodged a bullet here,” he told the Associated Press.
So far, there is no evidence that it was more than a “one-off event”, according to US homeland security chief, Janet Napolitano, stating “there are forensics in terms of video or possible video that might exist. There is a lot of evidence being tracked down by a lot of people right now.”
New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, gave his thanks to New York police officers, “We are very lucky. Thanks to alert New Yorkers and professional police officers, we avoided what could have been a very deadly event. It certainly could have exploded and had a pretty big fire and a decent amount of explosive impact.”
Officers are currently reviewing surveillance footage of the area.