New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the reopening of West 56th Street between Sixth and Fifth Avenues to crosstown traffic, following several weeks of closure as a security measure.
In addition, the New York City Police Department will relocate its mobile command post from the southwest corner of 56th Street to the northwest corner. This will allow for the opening of the south side of 56th Street to one-lane through traffic, while still allowing the mobile command post to act as a traffic deterrent to keep vehicular threats at bay.
These changes — implemented in coordination with the Department of Small Business Services, Department of Transportation, NYPD and Secret Service — will improve congestion and allow for easier access to deliveries for businesses within the security perimeter, all while maintaining the safety and security of Trump Tower and the surrounding area. The changes took effect immediately.
“The safety of New Yorkers and of the President-Elect are our top concern,” de Blasio said. “The changes we are implementing will maintain that security, while allowing for more movement in the area and addressing concerns raised by surrounding businesses. We will continue to examine and carefully confront the challenges presented by this unprecedented responsibility.”
“Protecting the president-elect while minimizing the impact to nearby businesses has required constant dialog from everyone involved,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “We welcome the reopening of 56th Street to increase pedestrian and vehicular movements in the area while still maintaining the security of the next President of the United States.”
Stores such as Gucci, Coach, Tiffany, Prada, Bulgari and Bergdorf Goodman have all been negatively impacted by the high security measures around Trump Tower since Donald Trump won the presidential election. Trump has been living and working with his transition team most of the time at Trump Tower.
“The traffic and situation around that part of Fifth Avenue have become quite congested,” Karen Katz, NMG’s president and chief executive officer, said this month. “We are working through the situation between the NYPD and the Secret Service to make sure customers have easy access to get into Bergdorf Goodman.”
Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services, said Wednesday, “Our department heard the concerns of small business owners near Trump Tower and we took swift action. By working with Mayor de Blasio, the NYPD and other colleagues in government, I am pleased that 56th Street will be reopened and that this big security challenge can be met without harming area small businesses.”
The Department of Small Business Services recently canvassed businesses around Trump Tower with the NYPD regarding challenges they faced, and SBS commissioner Gregg Bishop, joined by City Council member Dan Garodnick, met with small business owners within the security perimeter. That outreach helped inform changes that will alleviate some constraints on customer traffic and deliveries.
Manhattan Borough president Gale A. Brewer said, “West 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth is home to a diverse group of merchants and professionals, the kind of small businesses our city needs to thrive. I’ve met with some of these business owners, and they’ve told me that since their street was dead-ended, deliveries have become nearly impossible and customers have stayed away, costing them anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of their business.”
Brewer said she urged the Secret Service to keep working with NYPD “to do everything they can to avoid unnecessary harm to Midtown Manhattan’s businesses.”