“He usually walks around alone, looking lonely and kind of depressed usually,” said Nejilia Gayden, 18, of Bridgeport. “Sometimes he’ll mumble to himself.”
Mr. Shahzad, Mr. Chomiak said, mentioned that he wanted to grow tomatoes.
A Pakistani man said that an acquaintance of his who was a friend of the Shahzad family told him that within the past year, Mr. Shahzad had peered critically at a glass of whiskey the friend was holding, indicating a judgmental stance typical for rigid jihadis.
Another family friend in Pakistan, Kifayat Ali, called Mr. Shahzad “emotional” and said that he used to carry a dagger around with him as a boy.
Aliou Niasse, a street vendor selling framed photographs of New York, said that he was the first to spot the car containing the bomb, which pulled up right in front of his cart on the corner of 45th street and Broadway next to the Marriott hotel.
“I didn’t see the car pull up or notice the driver because I was busy with customers. But when I looked up I saw that smoke appeared to be coming from the car. This would have been around 6.30pm.
“I thought I should call 911, but my English is not very good and I had no credit left on my phone, so I walked over to Lance, who has the T-shirt stall next to mine, and told him. He said we shouldn’t call 911. Immediately he alerted a police officer near by,” said Mr Niasse, who is originally from Senegal and who has been a vendor in Times Square for about eight years.