An eyewitness told CNN affiliate NY1 he was having dinner when an explosion rocked the area.
“[I] felt a loud explosion and I felt like a lightning bolt struck the building. It, like, shook the ground,” he told NY1. “Everybody ran out of the restaurant into the street. The whole city was in the street.”
He says the response by police who swarmed the area was “aggressive” but “controlled.”
The man told NY1 he lives in the neighborhood and knows it well.
“I walk down the street every day. … This is my main thoroughfare. I’m either in an Uber, a cab, or on foot on this street all the time. This is my neighborhood. This isn’t a tourist attraction. It’s just the middle of the city. It does frighten me.”
Some social media users said the sound of the explosion was heard as far away as Hoboken, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Chelsea.