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Quartz / Anne Quito
Boom.
WHAT POSTER?

These are the “Christmas-themed posters” that supposedly triggered the Port Authority bomber

By Anne Quito

Law enforcement officials have claimed that failed suicide bomber Akayed Ullah targeted a tunnel within the bowels of New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal because of its “Christmas-themed posters.” But those posters are nowhere to be found.

On Dec. 11, Ullah attempted to detonate two homemade pipe bombs strapped to his chest. He ended up injuring himself and five other people, and was taken into custody. As the New York Times reports:

Law enforcement officials said the attacker, identified by the police as Akayed Ullah, 27, chose the location because of its Christmas-themed posters, a motive that recalled strikes in Europe, and he told investigators that he set off his bomb in retaliation for United States airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and elsewhere.

To examine the posters that Ullah supposedly decried, Quartz visited the long passageway connecting the Times Square subway stop to the bus terminal this morning. There is no evidence of holiday-themed decor—instead a series of Verizon posters advertising the iPhone X hang on the wall.

Several law enforcement officers on the scene confirmed that the transit ads had been in place when the attack happened at 7:20 am yesterday. Wire photos also show that the iPhone ads were installed.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig
What Christmas posters?

“It’s been here since last month,” echoed a Port Authority worker who was replacing a bulb in the illuminated frame. Verizon had apparently bought the “station domination package” and blanketed the tunnel with 42 near-identical posters showing glowing product shots of the newest iPhone model.

Apart from the Verizon ads, the only décor in the passage way is a series of tile mosaics by artist Lisa Dinhofer. Closest to the scene of the explosion are colorful orbs that conceivably may have looked like Christmas ornaments. Its title: Losing my Marbles.

Anne Quito / Quartz
“Losing my Marbles” by Lisa Dinhofer
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