Trump security hurting businesses

About 200 members of the New York Police Department serve 12-hour shifts outside Trump Tower every day. City officials have asked the federal government to reimburse the cost of providing security for Mr Trump, which they said would reach US$35 milli
About 200 members of the New York Police Department serve 12-hour shifts outside Trump Tower every day. City officials have asked the federal government to reimburse the cost of providing security for Mr Trump, which they said would reach US$35 million (S$50 million) by the time of his inauguration on Jan 20. PHOTO: NYTIMES

Cordons, gawkers around home and office of President-elect chasing area's customers away

NEW YORK • Ever since Mr Donald Trump was elected US president last month, the sidewalks around his black-glass home and office in New York City 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 delivery men pushing crates of vegetables for long blocks from their trucks stranded on 56th Street to restaurant kitchens.

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

But despite Trump Tower's gilded address, the neighbourhood 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.

HAZARDS

The block is now unwelcoming and looks like a war zone... We have a need to protect the President-elect, but we shouldn't allow our businesses and all of those jobs to be sacrificed in the process. ''

MR DANIEL GARODNICK, a Democratic city councilman who represents the area where Trump Tower sits.

In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio last week, Mr Daniel Garodnick, a Democratic city councilman who represents the area, said revenue had fallen 20 per cent or more at more than three dozen small businesses in the neighbourhood.

''The block is now unwelcoming and looks like a war zone,'' said Mr Garodnick. ''We are getting to a place where these businesses need to plan and worry that they won't be able to survive. We have a need to protect the President-elect, but we shouldn't allow our businesses and all of those jobs to be sacrificed in the process.''

Ten city bus routes are affected by the new traffic patterns around TrumpTower, 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, 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 Mr Trump, which they said would reach US$35 million (S$50 million) by the time of his inauguration on Jan 20. So far, federal officials have set aside US$7 million for such expenses.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 25, 2016, with the headline 'Trump security hurting businesses'. Print Edition | Subscribe