Obama and Romney Visits to Cause Midtown Traffic Nightmare

By Dan Rivoli and Jill Colvin  on September 24, 2012 11:09am  | Updated on September 25, 2012 9:55am

MANHATTAN — Midtown will nearly grind to a halt Tuesday as President Barack Obama, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and various foreign leaders hit New York for the United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative.

Obama will continue his whirlwind tour of the city with remarks to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday morning. Afterward, he will head the Sheraton Hotel at West 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue for a speech at President Bill Clinton’s Global Clinton Initiative. Romney will also speak there earlier Tuesday.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also set to arrive at the Warwick Hotel on West 54th Street Tuesday, further adding to the traffic woes.

New Yorkers can expect street closures around the Sheraton during Obama's and Romney's visits.

Also, for the U.N. General Assembly, the FDR Drive’s 42nd Street exit will be closed from 5 a.m. to the evening, according to traffic guru Sam "Gridlock" Schwartz. Additional street closures include First Avenue between 42nd and 48th streets, as well as 44th and 46th streets between First and Second avenues, Schwartz said.

Park and Lexington avenues from 48th to 52nd streets will be closed until 5 p.m. Tuesday. The FDR Drive south of 63rd Street will be closed both ways Tuesday from late afternoon to evening.

The M50, M42, M34/M34 SBS and M15/M15 SBS buses will also be re-routed through the day because of the U.N.

NY Waterways also warned Hudson and East River ferry riders to plan for delays and possible closures at Pier 11/Wall Street when the president heads out of the city between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The chaos is expected to continue through the week, with Ahmadinejad addressing the U.N. Wednesday at the U.N. and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking Thursday.

Obama started the week taping an afternoon appearance on "The View" with First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday, followed by a U.N. event with visiting Heads of State and Government.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg had advice for beating the traffic: take mass transit instead.

"The Police Department works very hard to minimize the disruption," Bloomberg Monday. "But there’s no question, you are going to, if you go in certain neighborhoods, get stuck in traffic. And so, mass transit’s a better alternative."

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