De Blasio Advises New Yorkers ‘Don’t Drive On 5th Avenue’ During President’s Stay At Trump Tower

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump is expected to come home to Trump Tower for a few days starting Sunday, the first time since his inauguration, and New York City police are planning a slight security clampdown in the area around the Midtown skyscraper for the duration of his visit.

Trump first tweeted his plans Monday, saying he’d go home to his three-floor, 11,000-square-foot penthouse for three days for some meetings. He arrived at his private golf club in New Jersey a week ago Friday for a 17-day “working vacation.” The White House hasn’t divulged specifics on his New York stay.

“The public should know this: don’t drive on Fifth Avenue, in that part of midtown,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on his WNYC radio show, adding “Fifth Avenue will be open throughout the president’s visit and the NYPD has done extensive preparations working with the Secret Service and they certainly are ready to handle anything and everything.”

“But anyone who wants to actually get where they’re going avoid Fifth Avenue in the 50s and 60s. Avoid 57th Street crosstown around Fifth Avenue, around Madison. You know, it’s just a smart thing to get around it because for those three days – from Sunday night to Wednesday night – is going to be really clogged up,” de Blasio added.

The mayor said the president will most likely stay at Trump Tower for the whole visit, and they have no indication of other events.

58th Street from Sixth Avenue to Madison Avenue and 55th Street from Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic starting midnight Sunday, August 13 and will remain closed for the duration of Trump’s visit, according to the NYPD.

56th Street from Sixth Avenue to Fifth Avenue will have “managed vehicular access” during the same time frame.

After Trump was elected president Nov. 8, security around Trump Tower ramped up dramatically, even including a fleet of heavy sanitation department trucks filled with sand to wall off the front of the building from any potential vehicle bomb attack. A maze of barricades and checkpoints were manned by scores of uniformed police officers under the supervision of a mobile command center.

Since taking office, the president has surprisingly returned to the city only once, on May 4, for a visit with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum. He was in town for only a few hours. His absence allowed the New York Police Department to loosen security around Trump Tower, though it can dial it back up at any time, said police department spokesman Stephen Davis.

“We’re ready,” Davis said. “We’re ready if he wants to show up tomorrow, or not at all.”

Trump Tower poses a unique security challenge because portions of it are required, by law, to be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. as a result of a zoning deal Trump cut with the city when he built the skyscraper.

The tower continues to be the scene of frequent protest marches and demonstrations, though most in recent months have been smaller than the many huge demonstrations that followed the inauguration.

Opponents of Trump’s immigration policies are planning to protest outside Trump Tower on Tuesday.

Police officials estimate the cost of securing the president while he’s in town is roughly $300,000 per day, but that could easily change depending on whom he’s with, how many people are in his entourage, where he’s headed and how long he’s planning to stay.

“The NYPD is the most expert police force on earth in terms of handling visits by an American president,” de Blasio said earlier this week. “They do an outstanding job. I think that we’re going to be ready by any measure.”

Trump’s time in New York has “been a lot less than we expected,” the Democratic mayor said. “To his credit, he kept the time here very limited and the disruption very limited. Hopefully, that will be the same this time.”

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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