New se­cu­rity mea­sures ring Trump Tower

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Tom Hays

NEW YORK >> Be­ing a mid­town Man­hat­tan neigh­bor of Donald Trump now that he’s pres­i­dent-elect has come to this: nav­i­gat­ing swarms of po­lice of­fi­cers, bar­ri­cades, check­points and street clos­ings that have turned Trump Tower — a tourist at­trac­tion nor­mally open to the public — into a fortress.

The ex­treme se­cu­rity mea­sures be­gan go­ing up around the land­mark Fifth Av­enue sky­scraper on Elec­tion Day, when au­thor­i­ties brought in a fleet of heavy San­i­ta­tion Depart­ment trucks filled with sand to wall off the front of the glit­ter­ing, 664-foot glass tower and pro­tect it from a po­ten­tial car bomb at­tack.

Those trucks were gone by Fri­day, re­placed by con­crete bar­ri­ers stamped with the NYPD logo. But the stepped-up se­cu­rity — a team ef­fort by the Se­cret Ser­vice, the New York Po­lice Depart­ment and Trump’s pri­vate se­cu­rity per­son­nel — isn’t go­ing away.

The Se­cret Ser­vice and NYPD wouldn’t de­tail what lies ahead. That will de­pend largely on how Trump de­cides to di­vide his time be­tween Washington and New York and on an as­sess­ment of the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of Trump Tower, where the pres­i­dent-elect lives in a pent­house condo and his Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion is head­quar­tered.

“It’s go­ing to take a lot of plan­ning, and it’s go­ing to take a lot of cre­ativ­ity,” said NYPD Deputy Com­mis­sioner Steve Davis.

The height­ened se­cu­rity has al­ready be­come a con­cern for some high-end re­tail­ers in one of the city’s busiest shop­ping dis­tricts, es­pe­cially with the hol­i­day sea­son ramp­ing up.

“We’ve heard a lot from the cus­tomers that it has been a real ad­ven­ture even get­ting to us,” said Kevin Hill, man­ager of Crocket and Jones, a shoe store on West 56th Street.

“It prob­a­bly drives peo­ple away,” he said of the se­cu­rity surge. “I thought, ‘Gosh, if he comes up here ev­ery week on the week­ends, that will be just a night­mare.’”

Po­lice of­fi­cers man­ning metal bar­ri­cades asked vis­i­tors and shop­pers where they were go­ing before they could get onto the Trump Tower block Fri­day. Peo­ple who said they were headed for the tower or the flag­ship Tif­fany & Co. store next door were be­ing let through, but the jewelry shop can­celed the un­veil­ing next week of its an­nual Christ­mas light dis­play.

“It’s ob­vi­ously an im­por­tant time of year for us,” said Tif­fany spokesman Nathan Strauss.

Metal bar­ri­cades also re­stricted ac­cess to a Gucci store on the ground floor of Trump Tower.

In the weeks lead­ing up to the elec­tion, vis­i­tors at Trump Tower were sub­jected to bag checks and other screen­ing but oth­er­wise had free ac­cess to a five-story atrium that has shops and restau­rants, in­clud­ing Trump Grill and a Star­bucks. Under a zon­ing deal Trump made with the city in the late 1970s, he is re­quired to keep the atrium open to the public be­tween 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

In Au­gust, a young man took ad­van­tage of the easy public ac­cess, as­cended to a public ter­race and be­gan scal­ing the side of the tower Spi­der Man-style, us­ing suc­tion cups. He made it about 20 sto­ries up before po­lice of­fi­cers hauled him in through a win­dow.

By late last week, though, ac­cess was re­stricted and oc­ca­sion­ally cut off com­pletely.

In­side the atrium, law en­force­ment was ev­ery­where, vis­i­tors were few and busi­ness was slow for the Star­bucks and Trump gift shops and restau­rants.

Still, “it felt very re­laxed,” said tourist Richard Cor­pen­ing, 61, a Trump sup­porter from Charleston, South Carolina. “They didn’t even take my cof­fee away.”

Po­lice also closed off the block south of the high­rise and set up guard tow­ers on ei­ther end. And they have got­ten stricter about di­vert­ing de­liv­ery trucks away from the tower.

This week, the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion barred air­craft from fly­ing be­low 2,999 feet over Trump Tower, say­ing the airspace restric­tions are needed un­til late Jan­uary be­cause of “VIP move­ment.” An or­ga­ni­za­tion for pri­vate pi­lots com­plained that the FAA went too far by lim­it­ing ac­cess to the Hud­son River cor­ri­dor and its “breath­tak­ing view of the New York City sky­line.”

More per­ma­nent safe­guards will take into ac­count the ef­fect on busi­nesses and residents, Se­cret Ser­vice spokesman Martin Mul­hol­land said.

“Peo­ple think we shut stuff down be­cause we can, but we pay close at­ten­tion to what hap­pens when we close a street or a side­walk,” he said. “We look for the best solution.”

The cost of the se­cu­rity mea­sures is un­clear, though the city might seek re­im­burse­ment from the Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment for some of its ex­penses.

Craig Se­limotic Dan­forth, 47, of Carls­bad, Cal­i­for­nia, ap­peared star­tled when he was stopped by po­lice on the way to a meet­ing at an of­fice build­ing on heav­ily for­ti­fied West 56th Street. Once he was let through, Dan­forth, who works in the jewelry in­dus­try, called the se­cu­rity “a nec­es­sary in­con­ve­nience.”

“This is Trump,” he said. “It’s dif­fer­ent than hav­ing to block off a cou­ple streets in Chap­paqua for the Clin­tons.” He added: “Every­one is go­ing to have to adapt to this. You brush it off and go on your way.”


In this file photo, po­lice of­fi­cers help to in­stall con­crete bar­ri­ers around Trump Tower, the home of Pres­i­dent-elect Donald Trump, in New York.

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