NYPD Is Making Midtown Sidewalks an Obstacle Course — Where’s de Blasio?

The mayor controls the streets but is nowhere in sight as NYPD security theater puts the squeeze on Midtown foot traffic.

Caught between an NYPD fence and moving traffic on Fifth Avenue by Rockefeller Center. Photo: Nicole Gelinas
Caught between an NYPD fence and moving traffic on Fifth Avenue by Rockefeller Center. Photo: Nicole Gelinas

Nicole Gelinas has filed more Twitter dispatches from Midtown, where NYPD continues to clutter streets and sidewalks with a tangle of barricades.

On 49th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, NYPD blocked the roadway to limit motor vehicle access. But the police barriers are also narrowing sidewalks and crosswalks, hampering pedestrian movement in areas that see some of the city’s heaviest foot traffic, particularly during the holiday season.

NYPD has not responded to multiple Streetsblog queries about the justification for the barriers. But this is presumably the department’s attempt to show that it’s trying to prevent motor vehicle operators from intentionally striking people.

Whatever the intent, by dropping concrete barriers and cattle fences onto sidewalks and crosswalks, the effect has been to make walking in Midtown more aggravating — even dangerous in some locations:

As Gelinas has pointed out, the mayor is responsible for managing the streets, and Police Commissioner James O’Neill reports to him. City Hall hasn’t made any announcements about what NYPD is doing. If there’s a plan behind it, the public should be informed.

We’ve asked the mayor’s office if the Midtown barricades are NYPD’s response to the October greenway truck attack, and if less intrusive long-term measures — like steel bollards — will replace them. We’ll report if we hear back.


NYPD: No Charges for Driver Who Killed Woman on Midtown Sidewalk

Update: Newsday identified the driver as Dimas Debrito. A driver who hit three people on a Midtown sidewalk, killing a 24-year-old woman, was not charged with a crime by NYPD or Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. On Monday August 10, at around 4:24 p.m., Mallory Weisbrod was walking along Second Avenue at E. 49th Street when […]