Arsonist targeting Bryant Park shoeshine stand?

The stand, located in Bryant Park in New York City, appears to be the target of an arsonist.

April 7, 2010 7:53:01 AM PDT
It appears an arsonist is targeting the shoeshine stand outside Bryant Park at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. There have been reports of two fires there.

The first fire happened three weeks ago in the middle of the night.

During that incident, the three-seat stand was destroyed.

Then, on Tuesday morning around 1:15 a.m., fire crews received a call that a second fire was burning.

This time the replacement stand was destroyed.

Park officials now believe the stand, owned by Bryant Park Corporation, is being set on fire purposely.

"Recently there has been very little crime in Bryant Park, and almost no vandalism on the sidewalks around the park, so everybody is very shocked," said Daniel A. Biederman, the executive director of the Bryant Park Corporation. "But we are going to beat this guy who is lighting fires, and bring in another booth."

Biederman says a group of construction workers saw a man standing in front of the booth during the fire.

They apparently accused the man of setting the fire, causing the unknown man to flee.

There are no suspects and no motives for the fires.

Park officials say they will install yet another stand.