NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The streets surrounding many police precincts have been blocked off since protests started at the end of May, but now that tensions have calmed, some residents want to know when streets will reopen.
To get to the tattoo and piercing parlor on West 54th Street, Sayeeda Copeland had to talk her way through police barricades.
“We were actually stopped and questioned and asked why were we coming this way,” she said.
The street is closed on both sides because an NYPD precinct is on the block.
Officers stop everyone trying to drive, bike or walk through.
Carlos de la Torre is an accountant on the block and says the current setup deters clients.
“You’re not allowed to drive in this street, so they have to look for parking around. Where? In Manhattan, in Midtown Manhattan? Forget about it. So it’s very inconvenient,” he said.
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Almost every precinct in Manhattan is like this right now — the street barricaded to traffic and, in many cases, pedestrians who don’t live there.
It’s been this way since May, at the start of heated protests when businesses were being looted and some NYPD vehicles were set on fire.
“For police, I’m not sure what necessarily is going through their head, why they’re still keeping them here despite much of the tensions have decreased at this point,” Hell’s Kitchen resident Matthew Slater said.
Because of that, the Manhattan Borough president says she’s hopeful the barricades can come down like it was before protests started. Some residents who spoke to CBS2’s Ali Bauman agree.
“‘Cause it feels like we really don’t have access to the police like we should,” Copeland said.
“It’s probably creating traffic flow problems,” said Ryan Birnbaum, of Hell’s Kitchen.
An NYPD spokesman told CBS2, “The barricades surrounding police precincts are placed there for the safety and security of our police officers, vehicles and facilites.”
They also pointed to a July 4th incident when the window of a marked patrol car was shot outside of a precinct.
“Keeping themselves safe I’m sure is also a priority as well as keeping us safe, so I understand both sides of it,” said Kris Fuhr, of Greenwich Village.
The NYPD says the streets will reopen when there is no longer a threat.