NEW YORK — The protest march Sunday on the eve of the Republican National Convention will take tens of thousands of demonstrators down 34th Street and across Herald Square, past Macy’s flagship and major retailers such as the Gap, Old Navy, H&M and Victoria’s Secret.
After a state judge on Wednesday barred organizers from rallying in Central Park, United for Peace and Justice, the coordinating group, said Thursday that it had agreed on a march route with the New York Police Department.
The group will march north on Seventh Avenue from West 23rd Street to West 34th Street, then turn east for two blocks on West 34th Street before going past the Empire State Building and turning south on Fifth Avenue to Broadway. The demonstration is to end in Union Square Park at East 14th Street. A police spokesman confirmed the department had approved the plan.
“We’re not thrilled to have them, because they’ve been loudly proclaiming they’re not going to listen to anybody,” said Daniel Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership, which represents landlords and retailers. “I predict the PD will handle it well, because I just see a very sensible approach throughout, and they’re used to handling difficult groups.”
Many retailers had yet to hear of the protesters’ route through the neighborhood and hadn’t put any plans into effect. A Macy’s spokeswoman said the store will be open on Sunday.
An H&M spokeswoman also said the retailer’s two stores on the route will be open. “I think they’ll go with the flow as long as possible,” she said.
Diesel, which has a store at Union Square, is expected to close for a couple of hours on Sunday, according to Craig Leavitt, executive vice president of sales and retail at Diesel USA Inc.
“Obviously, the main concern is for the safety of our employees and our customers,” he said. “Given the size of the march that’s planned, we will probably be closing for a portion of the day.”
Concluding the march at Union Square Park appears to accomplish two objectives: It will funnel the crowds into a large area that often accommodates rallies — several events are scheduled for the park later in the week — and it ends the protest more than two miles south of Central Park, which may reduce the number of people who choose to head there afterward.
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