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Avoid Trump Tower to ‘maximum extent,’ mayor tells NYers

Mayor Bill de Blasio gives remarks on security

Mayor Bill de Blasio gives remarks on security and traffic plans in the vicinity of Trump Tower at NYPD headquarters in Manhattan on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Extra police officers, a ban on truck traffic, barricades and pedestrian checkpoints will continue on Fifth Avenue until Donald Trump is sworn in a president on Jan. 20, city officials said Friday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and a host of other officials, including the head of the U.S. Secret Service in New York, sketched out at a news conference what New Yorkers face in the 65 days around Trump Tower, noting things may change after the inauguration.

“If people were to specifically avoid that area to the maximum extent possible, that’s going to help us to manage the situation as well as we can,” de Blasio said.

A key determinant, he said, will be how much time Trump spends in Washington after assuming the presidency and if Trump Tower becomes his residence outside the White House.

“A lot could change after the 20th of January,” de Blasio said. “He has to determine what works for him.”

Trump Tower — located in one of the world’s busiest commercial and shopping districts — is home to the president-elect’s transition headquarters. Reporters have maintained a vigil inside the atrium to watch potential nominees and appointees come and go through the obsidian and bronze glass doors and up the tower elevators.

For now, the NYPD and the Secret Service will rigorously enforce a ban on Fifth Avenue truck traffic. Police agents will divert trucks off Fifth Avenue, a southbound street, at 60th Street, probably to Park Avenue, said Chief of Department Carlos Gomez. Trucks will be barred from coming onto Fifth Avenue as far south as 55th Street, Gomez said.

Unimpeded traffic will continue on 57th Street, a major east-west thoroughfare, but no trucks will be allowed to turn onto Fifth Avenue, Gomez said.

Police have completely blocked off 56th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues to vehicles. Pedestrians, shoppers, residents and businesses will continue to have access by entering the block on the south side, though they will be subject to bag searches by police and the Secret Service, officials said.

Fifth Avenue may still be used by cars and buses but two lanes nearest Trump Tower at 725 Fifth Ave. will be closed off, O’Neill said. No wholesale closures of Fifth Avenue are planned, he said.

“We are striving for a proper balance here,” O’Neill said. “It will be a fluid plan that changes as circumstances dictate.”

With the NYPD looking at increased costs, including overtime for Trump security, both de Blasio and O’Neill said that the city was discussing reimbursement with the Obama administration.

“It will continue into the Trump administration,” de Blasio said. Trump will be the first president in decades to use New York City as a base or place of part-time residence, he said.


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