The squad used a robot-based camera to approach the vehicle and open it Wednesday. Police say they found clothing inside.
The area around 42nd Street between Seventh Avenue and Broadway was briefly blocked off as a precaution, and two high-rise buildings home to Nasdaq and Conde Nast were partially evacuated.
The van has tinted windows, and a placard from a nonexistent law enforcement agency is on the dashboard. It has no license plates, but a temporary registration was found inside the van and officers are trying to locate the owner.
Police officers on patrol noticed the van around mid-morning Wednesday. Security is tight as the New Year approaches.