“Trump Takes Manhattan”

Trump Tower, post election.jpg

 

re:

“How Fifth Avenue Is Coping,” by Matthew Schneier, The New York Times, November 23, 2016

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/fashion/fifth-avenue-holiday-shopping-donald-trump-tower-protesters.html

 

 

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The above referenced New York Times article is about the massive traffic headaches that have already been created – and which are looming – mainly on Fifth Avenue and on streets and other avenues in Manhattan in the vicinity of Trump Tower. Trump Tower, the main residence, for the time being, of President-elect Donald Trump, is located on the east side of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets.

A couple of points that I would like to make before discussing the contents of this particular article, which thoroughly describes the problem.

— New York City, it goes without saying, has always attracted people with star power: celebrities and magnates. Yet I have always thought and felt that it’s the sort of place which nobody can dominate. It is such a huge and such a great city that it cuts everyone down to size. I know that when I first moved to New York, as a young adult, I was awed by it. It seems to have that effect on everyone. It’s a welcoming place in many respects in that the atmosphere is so tolerant, of different races, lifestyles, ethnicities, persons high and low, and so forth. It’s welcoming, it’s also overwhelming. It seems to have that effect on everyone. It attracts; it excites; and, it intimidates. It has a way of cutting people with big egos down to size.

— New York is one of the world’s greatest cities for walking. Fifth Avenue is among the best places to walk. Stretches of Fifth Avenue include some of the most expensive residences in the world and luxury stores. Yet, the avenue is accessible to all. The sidewalks are wide, the pedestrian traffic is not limited by any means to one social class, and it’s a just plain fun avenue to stroll on. It is aesthetically pleasing, rarely gets overcrowded (to the point where passage is difficult; an exception might be right in front of Rockefeller Center, where there is a giant tree on display during Christmastime; crowds are found there at this particular time of the year at certain times on certain days). The glamor, elegance, and upbeat quality of the avenue and its denizens from around the 30’s to around 100th Street seem to rub off on everyone; the pedestrians always seem to be cheerful and unstressed. You rarely seem to see something depressing.

It looks like this is changing. It makes me very unhappy. Actually, angry.

 

 

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What the Times article says:

— The “festive spirit” normally observed on Fifth Avenue during the holiday shopping season has been “dampened a bit by the long guns of stationed police officers and the regular presence of bomb-sniffing dogs.”

— Famous stores on the avenue have been blocked by police barricades.

— Anti-Trump protests have shut down traffic. (Perhaps the protests are abating now.)

— Gawkers loitering on the sidewalk outside Trump Tower have presented a problem, both for pedestrians and security.

— Pedestrian access to the east side of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets, where Trump Tower is located, has been restricted.

— When Trump moves to the White House, the situation is not likely to ease. It is expected that he will still be spending considerable time at his Trump Tower residence. And, Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, and the couple’s son, Barron, are to stay in New York in the near term.

 

 

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Last week, I had an appointment at the Apple Store at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street to have my iPhone battery checked. It was raining hard. I was doing a shopping errand for my wife at a department store at Fifth Avenue and 39th Street.

I love to walk in Manhattan, and having to go from one place to another gives me a reason and incentive to walk. So, I headed north on Fifth Avenue, my preferred route and the most direct one. An alternate route would not make sense, and I much prefer Fifth Avenue to Madison or Park.

But, I had to make a detour at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street. There were barriers on both sides of the avenue (east and west) which served the purpose of a sort of funnel. Pedestrians were lined up on either side of the avenue, awaiting an ID check that would enable them to pass. A depressing sight. I have never seen this before in New York.

I was thinking what are they lining up for? It’s not worth it. Probably they wanted to be able to walk past Trump Tower and get a glimpse of it. Big thrill!

 

 

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I was reminded of an experience I had somewhere between fifteen and twenty years ago. I was walking during midday in Bryant Park, which is right behind the New York Public Library. The park runs between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets.

I was on a gravel pathway right behind the library which abuts the park. There were few people around, and my path crossed that of ex-mayor Ed Koch, who was strolling the other way on the same pathway. Neither of us was in a hurry.

We made eye contact.

I did not speak to Mr. Koch. I probably should have said, “Good day, Mr. Mayor.” But I kept going without speaking.

I had the distinct feeling that he knew that I knew who he was – in short, recognized him.

He peered at me. I had the feeling, intuition that he was thinking to himself, looks like an interesting face, an intelligent person (me).

We exchanged congenial glances.

I was reminded about something I read about Walt Whitman when Whitman was working and living in Washington, DC during the Civil War. Whitman often spotted President Lincoln riding by on horseback for business or pleasure. “I see the President almost every day. We have got so that we exchange bows, and very cordial ones,” Whitman wrote in 1863.

Mayor Koch, when I encountered him on my stroll, similar to the experience Whitman had when he saw President Lincoln riding by, seemed to be an ordinary citizen, no different than any other New Yorker. That’s the way it should be. Donald Trump is not larger than life. He should not be allowed to shut down Manhattan.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     December 2016

 

 

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Addendum: See also

 

 

“With Trump Using Tower as Base, Fifth Avenue Grinds to a Halt,” The New York Times, November 16, 2016

 

 

“Donald Trump Loves New York. But It Doesn’t Love Him Back,” The New York Times, December 9, 2016

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/nyregion/donald-trump-new-york-protests.html

 

 

“Businesses Near Trump Tower Say Security Is Stealing Their Christmas,” The New York Times, December 23, 2016

 

“One-Man Traffic Jam Will Hit City When Trump Visits,” The New York Times, January 27, 2017

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. He hosts separate websites devoted to the authors Theodore Dreiser and Pitirim A. Sorokin and to classical music as well as family history/genealogy.
This entry was posted in cities; urban living; urban policies and planning, general interest, my city and neighborhood, personal views of Roger W. Smith, social engineering and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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