The NYPD was gearing up Thursday for next week's U.N....

The NYPD was gearing up Thursday for next week's U.N. General Assembly, which police said poses unique security and traffic challenges. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Manhattan traffic, already its own special problem for motorists, will be extra challenging next week as the NYPD gears up for significant road closures and other security measures for the United Nations General Assembly.

Beginning Monday, several hundred NYPD officers and traffic agents will be out in force around the East Side of Manhattan as they help provide security for 151 heads of state scheduled to attend the 78th conclave, the most leaders since 2015, officials said Thursday during a briefing to the news media on preparations.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said there were no specific credible threats but the department will have aviation, harbor and canine units, along with patrol and detective units, to provide security.

“Of course, we will be working closely with the Secret Service, the State Department, the FBI and the U.N. police,’ Caban said. “We all agree that close coordination, and the overall resources is absolutely crucial to our success.”

But, as during past General Assembly meetings, the large impact for anyone driving in Manhattan will be road closures and restrictions as cops get ready to handle at least 50 motorcades in the area. Caban and other officials strongly advised the public to avoid the areas affected, or rely on public transportation.

Cone lanes for emergency vehicles and other key traffic movements will be set up for 42nd and 57th streets, between 5th and 1st avenues. Main road closures will affect 1st Avenue, between 42nd and 47th streets, although the truck underpass on 1st Avenue will be open, said NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Pilecki of the transportation bureau. Closures will also affect 42nd Street, between 1st and 2nd avenues; 38th Street to Third Avenue, 48th and 49th streets, between Park and Lexington and 50th and 51st streets, from 1st to Park avenues, Pilecki said.

Additional closures will occur on 58th Street, between 6th and 7th avenues, as well as 61st and 62nd streets, between Madison and Park avenues, said Pilecki, adding that there will be stepped up enforcement in the areas for illegally parked vehicles.

“The bottom line is this, you can expect to see heavier than normal traffic in Midtown next week,” Pilecki said. “We recommend you take public transportation if you can, or avoid the area all together if possible.”

To help get the message out, the department will be putting out detailed messages and setting up electronic variable message boards in the Midtown area, noted Pilecki.

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