Police confirmed the arrest of a 27-year-old man following the blast, which is being treated as an “attempted terrorist attack”.
The detained man – known as Akaidullah – sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the blast and at least three other people are believed to have sustained minor injuries.
It was initially thought his device might be malfunctioning, but Police Governor Andrew Cuomo maintained that the “low-tech device” was set off deliberately.
New York Terror Attack: A suicide bomber carrying a “pipe bomb” identified as Akaidullah
The crowded building near Times Square was evacuated and the area was closed to traffic, reopening around 10.30 local time (15.30 GMT).
Times Square itself, a popular tourist destination visited by millions each year, was closed to the public while the police investigated.
US journalist Alex Silverman tweeted: “Times Square is closed,” an anti-terrorism policeman told tourists. The Port Authority bus station, Times Square and PABT subway station are closed.
“1 in custody, another injured after the blast. Massive but organized response.”
Shalom Spring added, “It was strange to see an empty Times Square station at rush hour when we passed by…”
Dozens of police and fire trucks descended on the area as people were shocked on social media about the possible terrorist attack.
Siobhan O’Loughlin tweeted: “I work in Times Square at EdgeStudio and we’re all fine. You can be ok when the world is so relentlessly violent and there seems nothing we can do to stop it. #portauthorityexplosion.”
Twitter user @ConStar24 added: “Strange to pass Times Square and strange to see the platform empty as we passed. The hub for literally all trains in the city is closed.”
Douglas Hanau added: “My teenage son was on a train from Brooklyn to Times Square at 7.30. Her secondary school is on the far west side. I got off at 34 and walked. It’s hard to go back to work.”
Trains did not stop at Times Square/42nd Street in both directions on Lines 1, 2, 3, N, Q, R, W, and 7.
A, C, and E trains bypass the 42 St/Port Authority-Bus Terminal in both directions.
The 42nd St shuttle does not run both ways.
Terrified bystanders said there was a stampede as they were evacuated from the area.
Designer Chelsea La Salle tweeted: “Just got stuck in a running stampede at Port Authority bus stop due to bomb scare. Cops everywhere.”
A source told The New York Times that the man was a potential suicide bomber with wires attached to him and carrying a pipe bomb and battery pack.
Local media reported that the man was from Bangladesh, and there were police raids on a Brooklyn home after the blast.
The graphic image showing a man with a burned midriff on display as he lay on the ground with his hands behind his back is believed to be the first image of the suspect.
Times Square was closed after the Port Authority explosion
The accident occurred near the Port Authority terminal
Former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program that the man was inspired by ISIS and may have been born in Bangladesh.
Bratton, who said the man had been living in the US for seven years, “was assumed he was blowing up the device in the name of ISIS.”
“So, definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN the attacker was “disgruntled” and taught himself how to make the pipe bomb from the Internet.
More information is expected to emerge as police comb through CCTV footage that captured the entire incident.
The only person injured was the suspect himself
The Port Authority, a ten-minute walk from Times Square, is a major transportation hub with buses and trains running on the west side of Midtown Manhattan.
Twitter user Mike was at a bus stop near Times Square when the bomb exploded.
“They evacuate the port authority sometimes,” he said in a video tweet while evacuating tourists from the building. “I just got on the bus and got out quickly.”
“It looks like a bomb squad is taking care of an unidentified package.”
The New York Fire Department said it was responding to an incident at the Port Authority in Manhattan, but did not release further details.
The NYPD on Twitter called them out “to reports of an explosion of unknown origin at 42nd Street and 8th Street.”
There had been a rehearsal for an incident of this nature exactly one month earlier, so the authorities’ response was quick and well-coordinated.
“You will see a greater police presence across the city. There are no other specific, credible threats against NYC at this time,” the police wrote on Twitter.
New York City experienced an “attempted terrorist attack”
The White House said President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation.
New York in December sees an increase in visitors who come to see the department store’s elaborate displays, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and Broadway shows.
The news of the incident sent the financial markets into a state of shock as trading was going on throughout the week. S&P 500 futures trimmed gains, the dollar fell against the yen, and US Treasury prices rose in a modest attempt to escape to safety.
The incident occurred less than two months after an Uzbek immigrant killed eight people by speeding a rented truck down a New York City bike path, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.
In September 2016, a man injured more than twenty people when he detonated a homemade bomb in the Chelsea area of New York.