Ever since Donald Trump announced his candidacy, securing Trump Tower — the Fifth Avenue edifice where Trump resides — has been a headache for those tasked with protecting him. Now that Trump will actually become president of the United States, and he doesn’t seem willing to totally give up his Manhattan residence, those challenges have become even more daunting. Thus, the Secret Service is reportedly suggesting drastic action: shutting down traffic on the blocks surrounding Trump Tower whenever the president is in town.
New Yorkers, as you may expect, are none too thrilled with the idea of closing down one of the busiest thoroughfares in their already traffic-clogged metropolis. Highly placed members of the NYPD have already said that the plan “can’t happen,” a source tells the New York Daily News. But something must be done.
The NYPD held a special briefing about the tower’s security on Monday, and all sides have agreed to a meeting on Thursday to discuss logistics.
“It’s a negotiation,” the same police source told the Daily News. “Their job is to keep the president safe. Our job is to keep the president safe, but also let the people who live and work and visit there have some semblance of normality. It won’t be complete normality, but it’ll be adjusted normality.”
NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis did confirm that no matter what kind of compromise is reached, 56th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues will most likely be closed to all traffic, and two lanes of Fifth Avenue closest to the tower will probably be shut down whenever Trump is in residence.
Since the election, Trump Tower has become the scene of massive anti-Trump protests. The tower has been ringed with concrete barriers and rows of dump trucks filled with sand meant to protect the building from explosives or vehicles trying to crash into the building. And the FAA has already declared the airspace above the building a no-fly zone, at least until Trump officially takes office.
There has been no comment yet about exactly how many blocks the Secret Service would like to close whenever the tower’s namesake is in residence, and shutting down streets may be just the beginning. The iconic gilded tower is faced with glass and was built in 1983. It will likely need to be totally retrofitted so that it could sustain an explosion or terrorist attack.