The city reopened a section of West 56th Street near Trump Tower to traffic, in a bid to ease the burden of security measures on pedestrians and retailers.
The area around Trump Tower has been closed off to cars to protect President-elect Donald Trump, who lives in the building. But local retailers and politicians had complained that the security measures damage business. Last week, retail owners met with the Department of Small Business Services to talk about their concerns.
As of Wednesday, the south lane on West 56th Street was open to cars again. But East 56th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues is still closed, as are some lanes on Fifth Avenue.
“The changes we are implementing will maintain that security, while allowing for more movement in the area and addressing concerns raised by surrounding businesses,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, according to AM New York.
Local council member Dan Garodnick welcomed the announcement. “Since Election Day, the closed and barricaded street looked and felt like a war zone, and it was directly affecting the bottom line of the hardworking business owners on the block,” he said. “This development sends a message to all New Yorkers and visitors that 56th Street is open for business.”
City officials say it costs about $500,000 a day to provide extra security at Trump Tower, which it predicts will end up costing about $35 million by Jan. 20. Congressional Republicans allocated only $7 million for the protection of the president-elect. [AMNY] — Konrad Putzier