Last week I saw yellow tape go up along my street. Cops were shouting at passersby to turn around. Anyone who emerged from their apartments was asked to go back inside or make their way, escorted, to Third avenue. Without the constant sounds of traffic, things became eerily quiet.

I sought refuge in the cleaners next door; the unflappable woman who works there was ironing behind the counter. "Bomb threat," she told me, offhandedly.

She was right -- I later learned a man had left a suitcase in a trashcan on my corner. It said "A BOMB" in big, taped-on letters. The NYPD closed four blocks within 30 minutes. When they determined the package was no threat, they quickly carted the suitcase away and reopened the streets. Within a few minutes, everything was back to normal. The story didn't even made the evening news, or the paper.

* * *

This morning, I saw yellow tape going up, along my street. A man was setting up red cones along the open parking spaces. Two towtrucks were busily hauling cars away.

"Excuse me," I said, to the man with the yellow tape. "Why are all these cars being towed?"

"Filming a movie."

Oh, yes, we've been here before (though this is shooting literally outside my front door.) I got some details on the movie -- called "The Brave One", starring Jodie Foster... There was one more thing I wanted to know:

"Why move all the cars? What's happening in the scene?"

"A traffic jam."

I love this town.

On a related note: Grand Rounds is up, with a movie theme.

Update: The Reeler's got the lowdown on this morning's towing, and some investigative reporting on how much NYPD is paying to accomodate the filmmakers and inconvenience the car-owners of my fair street.