Monday, November 21, 2016

The Greatest City in the World May Be Regularly Disrupted

As you hopefully know, our nation's capital is Washington, D.C. What you may not know is that before that, the capital was Philadelphia, and before that, it was New York City, which served as the capital under the Articles of Confederation (from 1785 to 1789), as well as briefly under the US Constitution (from 1789 to 1790). In fact, George Washington first took office in New York City.

New York City may, once again, become a regular host to our new president, who has announced that he will spend as much time in NYC as he as able, which people speculate means weekends. And that will likely cause many disruptions to the residents of NYC:
No city on Earth is better prepared to host a presidential visit than New York: The police department works seamlessly with the Secret Service these days, and Manhattanites are used to traffic jams. But to accommodate a more regular presidential presence, the daily routines of ordinary New Yorkers who live in, work near or commute through a five- to 10-block radius of Trump Tower will change. They will not be able to move freely; sometimes they won’t be able to move at all. Whenever a president moves, everything nearby freezes.

This past week, the Secret Service and the NYPD began to draw up a security blueprint to protect the soon-to-be-president while minimizing disruption. (Secret Service spokesman Marty Mulholland declined to comment for this story, citing the agency’s policy of not talking about protective operations.) But shielding Trump from harm is only one of many objectives. Ensuring that he can communicate with the military, world leaders, Congress and the American people at all times is just as vital, and these goals exponentially increase the number of people, objects and systems that surround a modern president.
To give an illustration, the article outlines what happened when the Obamas visited New York City for an evening on May 30, 2009:
The planning began in secret about nine days before the trip, one of the staffers involved told me. A Secret Service agent accompanied a presidential advance-team volunteer to the theater and asked the manager for four tickets — two for VIPs, two for Secret Service agents. Near an exit. “And who would these be for?” the manager asked. “We can’t tell you,” came the apologetic reply.

When the big night arrived, word had gotten out, and the NYPD shut down 44th Street for hours, snarling traffic. The Obamas arrived right on time, but a glitch in screening theatergoers through magnetometers meant that entry lines were long and slow. So the president had to wait outside in the rear while agents checked the remaining audience members for weapons.

In the end, the trip took three airplanes , three helicopters, about 100 federal security agents and dozens of police officers accruing overtime. It required secure telephones in secure rooms inside the theater and the restaurant. All for a night out.
This should be fun...

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