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Trump Tower neighborhood feels pinched by security

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Members of the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism unit guarded Trump Tower in New York on Nov. 14.

NEW YORK >> Ever since Donald Trump was elected president last month, the sidewalks around his black-glass home and office on Fifth Avenue have been clogged with gawkers, security barriers and officers who search shopping bags filled with presents.

Traffic, including city buses, crawls by. All around the building, during what is usually a peak time of the year, restaurants are sending home waiters because there are not enough customers, garages say almost no one is parking, and salons are doing fewer hairdos for holiday parties. Fifty-Sixth Street between Madison and Fifth avenues is closed to all vehicle traffic. These days it is filled with deliverymen pushing crates of vegetables for long blocks from their trucks stranded on 56th Street to restaurant kitchens.

Trump Tower sits along Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets, the entrance flanked by the Gucci and Tiffany & Co. flagship stores, all of which are behind a cordon of law enforcement protection.

But despite Trump Tower’s gilded address, the neighborhood is filled with many modest businesses, such as cafes and hair salons, all struggling to figure out a way to deal with the intense security perimeter. In a letter sent Tuesday to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Daniel R. Garodnick, a Democratic city councilman who represents the area, said that revenue had declined by 20 percent or more at more than three dozen small businesses in the neighborhood.

Ten city bus routes are affected by the new traffic patterns around Trump Tower, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. A bottleneck that developed in the days after Election Day has eased on Fifth Avenue, but travel times have increased markedly on 57th Street, where eastbound traffic is 20 percent slower between Fifth and Seventh avenues than it was before the election, according to the city’s Department of Transportation.

About 200 members of the New York Police Department serve 12-hour shifts outside Trump Tower every day, a total of about 1,400 law enforcement personnel over the course of a week, the police said.

City officials have asked the federal government to reimburse the cost of providing security for Trump, which they said would reach $35 million by the time of his inauguration Jan. 20. So far, federal officials have set aside $7 million for such expenses.

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