Obama’s Westchester Visit Causes Some Headaches For Labor Day Weekend Travelers
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama has made some slight changes to his planned two-day visit to Westchester County.
The president flew into Westchester County Airport in White Plains on Friday afternoon.
Obama was to attend a small, roundtable event in New Rochelle and a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in Purchase, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported. The president was to spend the evening at a fundraiser in Rhode Island.
The president’s presence was felt almost immediately as his armored Cadillac cruised the streets of New Rochelle.
“He could probably find a better time to do this than shut down the main thoroughfare in southern Westchester,” one driver told CBS 2’s Matt Kozar.
“As a business owner, we had to call up our clients. A lot of them rescheduled because of the traffic,” salon owner Diane Tozzo added.
“Maybe he can write me a check and reimburse me for the loss of business,” restaurant owner Sal Cucullo said.
Instead of returning to New York and staying overnight as originally planned, the president was to return to Washington, D.C., the White House said.
He will spend Saturday morning there before heading back to Westchester County, where he will attend the wedding of his personal chef, Sam Kass, and MSNBC host Alex Wagner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills.
Some fear the president’s visit could affect travel plans for many New Yorkers heading out of town for Labor Day weekend.
The Westchester County Airport will be shut down while Obama is there, and even when he is not, private jets using the airport will be severely restricted.
Incoming private planes will have to land at MacArthur Airport on Long Island, or Stewart International Airport in Orange County, to be cleared into White Plains.
“This is one of the busiest weekends of the year and this is the weekend he has to do this? It’s an inconvenience for a lot of people and they’re not happy,” said Bill Weaver, owner of Million Air private aviation service.
But not everyone had a problem with the inconvenience.
“To think the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, is coming to our street,” said Mark O’Connor of New Rochelle.
O’Connor lives in Emerson Point, the neighborhood the president was visiting. He said Secret Service agents were respectful and cordial and added it was a moment he won’t soon never forget.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion,” he said.
The New York State Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation also warned that motorists could expect intermittent closures Friday afternoon on Interstate 684 between Purchase and Armonk, I-287 between White Plains and Port Chester, and I-95 between Pelham and the Connecticut State Line.
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