NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off in just three weeks, but some wonder if the event should be changed due to security concerns outside of Trump Tower.
The parade is celebrating its 255th year. For the last century thousands of spectators have lined the route on 5th Ave to honor their Irish heritage.
Organizers said they knew some changes would be in store after the presidential election.
“It was one of the first things. We have a president from New York and he lives right there on 5th Avenue, and we walk right past him,” Frank McGreal said.
Trump Tower sits on 5th Ave off 57th Street — smack in the middle of the parade path which stretches from 44th Street to 79th Street.
Police said they have no plans to change the route.
“We are a marching parade. We do not have any floats or any motor vehicles in the parade,” McGreal said.
Organizers said they’re working closely with police in vetting the groups making up the estimated 150,000 marchers.
A massive police presence and counter-terrorism efforts both seen and unseen will be in place.
For the first time, police said there will be no spectators allowed to view the parade directly outside Trump Tower where heavily armed police and barricades are present on a daily basis.
Organizers said the president will not be in New York on St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s unknown if his family will be.
Security expert Manny Gomez said the president’s absence is key.
“The wife and son don’t carry the same threat level. The same intensity and security as obviously POTUS does,” Gomez said, “It’s not going to be as scrutinized as if the president is in town for the parade.”
Gomez said the only ex-factors are potential demonstrations and protestors. Political activist Mike Campbell said that’s almost guaranteed.
“Any parade, any exciting day is an excuse to rally against Trump,” Campbell said.
Despite that, organizers remain optimistic.
“We really look forward to having a smooth day with major issue at all,” McGreal said.
Police said they will make accommodations for protests, but will not re-route the parade.