With the President-elect and his family living just one block north of us, the need for enhanced security will continue to affect the midtown area near Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church for the foreseeable future.
Derek Maddalena, director of facilities, recently attended a meeting organized by the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, the New York Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service. Based on the information they provided, here is what we can expect in the months ahead:
Restricted access to the parking garage
FAPC has a parking arrangement with the garage at 51 W. 56th St. that provides for discounted rates on weeknights, and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Many of our members and visitors take advantage of this arrangement. Currently the block just outside the garage—56th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues—is closed to vehicular traffic, and will remain closed indefinitely. The garage is still accessible, but drivers must stop for a security clearance before proceeding.
Potential street closings
Large crowds around Trump Tower and periodic protests on Fifth Avenue could cause the police department to close the avenue and surrounding streets. Unless protesters plan to use amplified sound (i.e., microphones and loudspeakers), permits are not required. So street closings can happen with little or no advance warning. The arrival and departure of presidential motorcades might also require temporary street closings or "frozen zones," which stop vehicular and pedestrian traffic for a short time.
Security officials cannot predict whether circumstances will require additional precautions that could block access to the church or interfere with our ongoing operations. The Secret Service advised that we can expect higher levels of security following the inauguration in January but declined to provide further details.
"We are in touch with the Secret Service and have a good relationship with the local police precinct, so we will share anything we learn that might affect the church," Derek says. "The police have told us they are going to do all they can to ensure that parishioners and visitors will have access to FAPC, with as little inconvenience as possible."
The New York Times recently published some interesting graphics on what's happening along Fifth Avenue these days. Take a look.
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