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Times Square hero cop wined & dined by Mayor Bloomberg

Last Updated: 9:56 AM, May 3, 2010

Posted: 3:37 AM, May 3, 2010

Comments: 25
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The courageous cop who saved Times Square from a car-bomb attack got the superstar treatment last night at a popular restaurant where Mayor Bloomberg picked up the tab for a steak dinner.

"Just another day at the office," joked Wayne Rhatigan, a 19-year NYPD veteran, outside the Blue Fin in the heart of the mounted cop's regular Times Square beat.

Inside, the affable officer charmed wife Tinamarie, Bloomberg, Hizzoner's girlfriend, Diana Taylor, Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, City Council President Christina Quinn and the rest of the party as camera crews craned to get a shot of the hero digging into his rib-eye steak and knocking back a couple of beers.

Officer Wayne Rhatigan joins Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris and Mayor Bloomberg at the Blue Fin in Times Square yesterday, a day after clearing out the area after vendors Lance Orton and Duane Jackson discovered the car bomb.
Christopher Sadowski
Officer Wayne Rhatigan joins Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris and Mayor Bloomberg at the Blue Fin in Times Square yesterday, a day after clearing out the area after vendors Lance Orton and Duane Jackson discovered the car bomb.
Photos: Times Square bomb scare

"Officer Rhatigan did exactly what he is trained to do and pushed people away, brought in all the reinforcements necessary," the mayor said.

"My message always is you've got to leave it to the professionals. Officer Rhatigan is a professional . . . part of the best police department in the world."

Missing from the celebration was one of the vendors who alerted Rhatigan to the abandoned SUV, which was filled with M88 fireworks, propane and a non-explosive fertilizer.

But earlier, Vietnam vet and T-shirt seller Lance Orton, 56, explained it was second nature for him to alert cops when he saw smoke billowing from the back of a suspicious SUV as tourists milled about just yards away.

"Of course," Orton said. "I'm a veteran. What do you think?"

Orton has been selling his wares on the streets of Manhattan for nearly 20 years, eking out a living in one of the city's busiest locations. But the day-to-day grind did not keep him from fulfilling what he said was his duty as both a New Yorker and a veteran.

"If you see something," he said, "say something."

Orton was one of several vendors who thought the empty Nissan Pathfinder was oddly out of place. For one thing, it was parked in the bike lane with its hazard lights on, said Duane Jackson, who sells women's bags in the area.

Jackson said he and Orton were inspecting the SUV when they heard several "pops" that sounded like firecrackers before seeing streams of smoke.

"We were very, very lucky," said Jackson, who carries pictures from the 9/11 terrorist attack to remind him of the perils the city faces. "We all look out for each other. We have each other's back. This is our street. This is our livelihood, so we have to protect it."

At his Holbrook, LI, house earlier yesterday, Rhatigan said he was just "glad to be home" with his family, gearing up to coach his daughter Hailey's lacrosse game. Her team won, 4-2.

"He's my hero and I love him," the 9-year-old said.

For Rhatigan, though, the reality of the near-disaster "hasn't set in yet, the magnitude of it."

Tinamarie, his wife of 21 years, said she was terrified when he called her at around 6:30 p.m. Saturday to tell her what happened.

"I was very scared when he told me there was a bomb in the car," she said. "I had goose bumps up my arm. But he did what he had to do. He made sure everybody got out safely, and then himself."

Rhatigan said he is looking forward to retirement in eight months, although his wife thinks he'll miss all the action.

"He really takes his job to heart," Tinamarie said. "He's very proud to be a New York City police officer."

Yesterday, among the gaggle of vendors who ply their wares in Times Square, there was amazement at how the attempted attack unfolded.

Alioune Iviasse, who sells souvenir pictures of New York, said he was standing next to the Nissan when it began to smoke.

"I had no idea there was a bomb in it," said Iviasse.

"It's pretty scary. If it had blown, I'd be dead now."


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Comments (25)

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    Mr. Divo

    05/03/2010 12:02 PM

    The Taliban and Al Quiada are probably feeling a great deal of sadness right now. Despite both groups trying to claim responsibility for the possible car bomb attack, the U.S. has told them that there is no proof that either group was involved. It must be tough to be a terrorist nowadays when your group can't even get recognition for a possible attack. How sad.

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    Mr. Divo

    05/03/2010 11:57 AM

    And exactly where is the dinner for the two street vendors?Both of these men are the real HEROES. If it wasn't for these two street vendors Times Square would have been blown to bits. Both men should be taken to Gracie Mansion for dinner and not some mid-town eatery. I demand that the public forces the mayor to properly honor these two street vendors for 'seeing something and saying something' to quote Bloomie.

  • Report Abuse


    05/03/2010 11:18 AM

    If the cops were doing 'their job' instead of constantly oogling pretty women tourists ...(you know who you are 44th and 7th st cops) then they would have noticed the illegally parked car immeadiately! But yet they were oblivious until the REAL Heros came along and alerted them!

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    05/03/2010 11:17 AM

    I hope he really did pay and won't be submitting a reimbursement voucher to the city.

  • Report Abuse


    05/03/2010 11:09 AM

    05/03/2010 8:41 AM
    "@Bob, You're as relevant as hem[mor]hoid on your sister's rump."

    You're wrong. I'm a hemorrhoid up yours.

    BTW, you misspelled "hemorrhoid", smartass. Can't you get ANYTHING right?

  • Report Abuse


    05/03/2010 10:45 AM

    The T-shirt vendor was the real hero here. The cop was doing what he was hired to do. Is Bloomy rewarding the cop because it is such a surprise that one member of the NYPD finally did what he was supposed to do? Instead, reward Mr Orton and his fellow vendor for being so quick to react! They saved so many lives! Figures though. The usual NYC bass-akwards way of recognizing value and valor. They don't.

  • Report Abuse


    05/03/2010 10:28 AM

    Did Caligula have HIS persoanal food taster taste the cop's food TOO?

  • Report Abuse

    Wake Up !

    05/03/2010 10:25 AM

    A bowling ball with a tampon sticking out is a prank .

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