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NYC Marathon fans are Boston strong

Security was tighter than ever for Sunday's NYC Marathon. Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images

NEW YORK -- Eric Schmidt saw it along the route of Sunday’s New York City Marathon:

The ramped-up police presence. The bomb squad vests. The bomb-sniffing dogs.

He expected that.

Schmidt, wearing a blue 2010 Boston Marathon jacket, joined his friends lining Fourth Ave. in Brooklyn, waiting for an old high school classmate to run by Mile Marker 8, just steps away from the live band that played on Atlantic Ave.

“I made it a point to come out today,” said Schmidt, a student at Brooklyn Law School from Ramsey, N.J., who now lives in Brooklyn Heights.

So did his buddy Steven Comanto, who was just blocks away from the finish line in Boston last year when an explosion engulfed the street in dark smoke and kept thousands of runners from completing the final mile of their race.

Comanto was leaving a bar nearby when panic struck outside. The bouncers told patrons to either get back into the bar or walk in the opposite direction of the finish. He thought about that day last year when he headed out Sunday morning, undeterred.

“I certainly feel safe,” Comanto said, moments after the friend they came to support ran by, smiling and waving.

The NYPD promised the largest police presence in the history of the Marathon, including dozens of police dogs sniffing for bombs on the sidewalks and hundreds of security cameras posted throughout the course. But the streets looked similar to previous years, packed with spectators, holding signs, blowing vuvuzelas, ringing cowbells and screaming for their friends and family as they zipped past.

Ray Murphy, 54, could be spotted easily in the crowd because he was wearing a Boston Red Sox hat.

Murphy, who currently resides in Pelham, N.Y., originally hails from Massachusetts.

“I have a lot of New York friends who are running the race today,” Murphy said. “An easy way for them to identify me is to see me wearing the hat that I always wear."

This is Murphy’s 15th time seeing the NYC Marathon.

“I ran Boston twice back in the 1980s, but I cannot imagine getting out there and doing it now,” he said with a laugh.

Murphy has been living in the New York area for 22 years now, and said it was strange when the marathon was canceled last year due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.

“It’s such a part of New York,” Murphy, who was without power for 11 days as a result of Sandy, said of the marathon. “I’ll always feel like I’m a Massachusetts boy at heart, but I’ve been down here for over 20 years now, and it has become my second home. There was a difference. That weekend was odd. But it was the right thing to cancel it.”