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GOP subway lockdown looms in NY

(The following story by Thomas M. DeFrank and Greg Gittrich appeared on the New York Daily News website on April 1.)

NEW YORK -- New York may stop in its tracks the night President Bush accepts his party's nomination in Madison Square Garden.

While Bush is in the convention center Sept. 2, the Secret Service wants all Amtrak, NJTransit and Long Island Rail Road Service to cease, the Daily News has learned.

For now, the six subway lines that run alongside the Garden on Seventh and Eighth Aves. will remain open but won't stop at 34th St., government officials told the News.

There is still debate whether to demand the subway lines also be fully halted when Bush takes the stage that Thursday, the last day of the four-day GOP convention.

The New York Police Department, which is working with the Secret Service, denied any final decisions had been made.

"Obviously, we have added more protection to Penn Station and we are working closely and daily with the Secret Service," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.

"But the station will be open and no major arteries will be closed," said Browne, the department's top spokesman.

"New York City will be open for business," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the Daily News.

At City Hall, an aide said of the rail stoppage plan, "We are adamantly opposed to this."

The scrum over New York security emerged as officials in Boston revealed they plan to close two transit hubs for a full week, starting three days before the start of the Democratic Convention on July 23.

The convention is being held in the FleetCenter, which shares a building with North Station.

The worries over the rail lines and convention safety come a few weeks after train bombings in Madrid killed 191 people.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

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