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After blast, New Yorkers are feeling around for psychological shrapnel

NEW YORK >> As detectives scoured every inch of the bomb scene in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on Sunday, New Yorkers were doing their own investigations. But theirs were from within, feeling around inside for the psychological shrapnel that an explosion on a busy city street is designed to release.

A walk around Manhattan revealed glimpses of these individual probes, quiet but as intense as those beneath klieg lights.

Suzie Shapiro, who lives a few blocks from the blast, visited the scene Sunday morning, getting as close as she could.

“It’s less scary if you see it,” she said, adding that she had done her best to explain what had happened to her two young children at home. “This is the reality of being a kid right now.”

On an uptown-bound subway Sunday, the doo-wop singers performed like they do every other day, but added as they left the train, “Be safe out there.” Moments later, the train bypassed the 23rd Street station near the bomb scene. “Due to a police investigation,” the conductor explained in bored tones over the intercom, as if it were like any other.

From her apartment a block away from the explosion, the singer Rosanne Cash wrote on Twitter: “We are safe and well. Appreciate the love + concern.”

And another neighbor nearby, Graham Mills, 52, seemed almost relieved that the wait for this was over. “It was only a matter of time,” he said. “There’s kind of this New York spirit that’s like, whatever. Let’s get on with life.”

Getting on with life in New York has been a moving target for at least 15 years.

In 2010, a car bomb found in a Nissan Pathfinder parked in Times Square did not detonate. The episode rattled the city even as residents spoke of the proverbial bullet that was dodged. But that bullet is always out there, as Saturday night reminded everyone.

No lives were lost. Did New York dodge another bullet?

Eleven-year-old Natalie Wollen did not think so. She said she did not want to leave her Chelsea apartment all day Sunday, but did so to walk her dog.

“I’m still scared,” she said, her lips quivering. She had heard reports — later retracted — of a third bomb that was found. “If there were three already, there could be another one,” she said.

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