NYPD Security Theater Takes Manhattan

Obtrusive new police barriers interfering with walking and biking paths are cropping up in Midtown and elsewhere. Do you feel safer, New York?

These bike lane-cluttering barricades come courtesy of the NYPD.
These bike lane-cluttering barricades come courtesy of the NYPD.

NYPD is dropping concrete barricades and other obstructions on some of Manhattan’s busiest areas for walking and biking. These measures seem to be a response to the greenway truck ramming attack at the end of October, but the main effect is to make getting around without a car more difficult.

The photo above is from Columbus Avenue and 79th Street, where the southbound parking-protected bike lane runs along the American Museum of Natural History. As you can see, the city lined the sidewalk with fencing, reinforced with concrete Jersey barriers that narrow the bike lane.

In Midtown, the city has barricaded mid-block crossings with metal fencing, according to the Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas. Here’s the crossing at Radio City Music Hall, with assorted security theater materiel scattered on the sidewalk:

At Herald Square, NYPD replaced concrete blocks and metal fencing put down over the summer with a new barricade. The primary effect is to block the path of the only protected bike lane that runs through the heart of Midtown:

This new barricade at Herald Square may keep cars out, but it also forces cyclists off their bikes on one of Midtown's only protected bike lanes. Photo: Paco Abraham
This new barricade at Herald Square disrupts one of Midtown’s only protected bike lanes. Photo: Paco Abraham

Streetsblog contacted NYPD this morning asking why the barricades have been installed, and a list of locations where they’ll be placed, but has yet to hear back.

NYPD responded with similar tactics after a ramming attack in Times Square in the spring, dropping a row of clunky concrete barriers that obstruct the bike lane segment on Seventh Avenue.

These new barricades appear to be NYPD’s answer to the October 31 ramming attack on the Hudson River Greenway, when a man driving a pickup truck murdered eight people. At the time, NYC DOT said the city would “assess necessary measures at other points of the Greenway and at public spaces.”

Soon after that attack, in response to a question about the haphazard placement of barriers on greenway, Mayor de Blasio said, “Obviously we want safety and security, but we also want people to be able to go on about their lives, and enjoy their lives. That’s another part of showing our enemies they cannot win.”

But the more NYPD gets to indulge its penchant for security theater, the less New Yorkers can enjoy getting around their city.

  • vnm

    They can’t put these on the other side of the bike lane (the side adjacent to the parked cars)? They can’t put them on the very edge of the sidewalk? They have to right in the bike lane?

  • AnoNYC

    Lazy, lack of innovation and common sense. Typical NYPD.

  • Fool

    Well it would be unfair to block the NYPD, NY Press parking and delivery lane.

  • Tooscrapps

    Because then people would hit their car doors on the barricades! Can’t have that.

  • Becky

    I’m starting to suspect that these terror attacks are really false flag operations as part of a conspiracy between the NYPD and the concrete barrier manufacturing industry!

  • Vooch

    clearly motor vehicles are very dangerous – they don’t belong in midtown at all. We need to help the cops keep us safe by making midtown car free during working hours

  • kevd

    they could. but that would require a moment’s thought or a modicum of common sense.

  • Ken Dodd

    Oh I have had it with these bozos. No intelligence whatsoever in the whole department. The blocking of the Herald Square bike path really pisses me off. Coming from uptown, you have to cycle up onto the curb and then make a sharp turn between a couple of planters. Why the hell did they have to block the WHOLE path? Is that little through road that goes past Macy’s really a prime terrorist target? ONE planter or something would have done, but instead they have to install a big ass barrier blocking the entire width. And don’t even get me started on Times Square where they’ve blocked half of the path. Absolute morons. I pray for the day when we have a police department with basic intelligence.

  • Val Prism

    NYPD has also been parking across the walk and bike lanes on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge so you have to go around the police truck with 2 officers sitting in it. Safety first.

    In fairness, today, they were a little off to the side so I guess that’s progress?

  • Guest

    Between the barriers, the sidewalk sheds and construction detours, and the countless derelict empty storefronts, the most touristed parts of Manhattan look and feel like a junkyard. How much longer will the place continue to attract visitors?

  • neroden

    This is entirely illegal behavior by NYPD, but what else is new? You need to elect a mayor who will shut down the entire crime gang.

  • neroden

    They could, but that would require a “law enforcement” organization, rather than a crime gang wearing blue gang colors.

    You need to elect a mayor who will shut down the crime gang.

  • J. Geoff Rove

    Are Brooklyn truck rental qualifications as loose as the New Jersey home centers ?