West 61st Street between Broadway and Central Park West isn't paved in platinum, but it should be: Entrances to both 15 Central Park West and the Trump International are on opposite sides of the block. Want to get a closer look? You're more than welcome to, 364 days of the year. The one day the street is off limits, as NYT columnist Clyde Haberman discovered, is Thanksgiving, when police officers place sawhorses on Broadway and Central Park West to make sure non-residents can't access the block. Is this privatization of a public street merely a case of some of the city's most wealthy residents exerting a bit of influence to preserve some prime balloon-watching real estate for themselves? Nope, according to a cop on the scene, it's not about privilege?it's about terrorism!
At the barricades were Trump employees and a doorman from 15 Central Park West helping the police identify which people could enter the street, which Haberman writes had plenty of room for kiddies hoping to spot Spongebob. Haberman asked the cops wassupwitdat:
One sullen officer brooked no discussion about public space. “How many times do I’ve got to tell you — you can’t get through,” he said. A more polite younger officer exuded the discomfort of someone who didn’t join the force to preserve streets for the well-to-do. “I’m just doing what the higher-ups tell me, sir,” he said. “It’s the way it is.” STANDING nearby was a police sergeant. I asked him as well why the street was blocked off. (Even Fifth Avenue residents who hate the parades on their street don’t suggest that they alone have walking privileges.)
“It’s counterterrorism, sir,” the sergeant said.
“The doorman is a counterterror agent?” I asked.
“Yes sir,” he said.
The next season of 24 takes place in New York City, and if there isn't a scene where Jack Bauer goes undercover as a 15 CPW doorman, well, let's just say the writers missed a golden opportunity.
· A Public Street Turned Private on Macy Day [NYT]