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Traffic Snarls and Ferry Delays Expected for Obama's Visit

By  Jill Colvin and Chelsia Rose Marcius | August 22, 2012 11:57am 

NEW YORK CITY — Traffic and ferry delays were expected during the evening rush Wednesday as President Barack Obama returns to town for two fundraisers, including one with basketball Michael Jordan at the Lincoln Center.

The trip is expected to cause delays throughout rush hour, with Air Force One scheduled to touch down at 6 p.m., the White House said.

The president is set to first deliver remarks at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and will then head over to Jazz at the Lincoln Center, the White House said.

There, Obama will join a star-studded cadre of former and current professional basketball players at a dinner co-hosted by Michael Jordan, where about 120 donors will shell out $20,000 per person, a campaign official said.

Traffic guru “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz warned drivers via Twitter to be on alert from Wall Street to the Upper East and Upper West sides as the president travels across town for the fundraiser.

He advised drivers to avoid the FDR in both directions south of East 96th Street, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., as the president heads uptown.

Freezes are also expected from First Avenue to Fifth Avenue and from Columbus Avenue to Central Park West, as well as along the 65th Street Transverse Road in Central Park, as he heads cross-town to Lincoln Center for the first event, which kicks off at 7 p.m., he said.

The M-66 bus is also expected to be re-routed during the event, Schwartz said.

At 9 p.m., the president will then head toward Columbus Circle, stopping traffic along Broadway, Central Park South, Central Park West and Eighth Avenue, Schwartz said.

The night's activities are expected to end about 10 p.m. with the president heading back Downtown, which will shut down East Side avenues and the 65th Street Transverse Road, as well as closing the FDR Drive south of East 96th Street from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Schwartz said.

Other changes include Hudson and East River Ferry Service at Pier 11-Wall Street, where delays and temporary closures are possible from 6 to 7 p.m. and 10 to 11:30 p.m., according to an advisory from NY Waterway.

In addition to Jordan, basketball stars such as Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Sheryl Swoopes, Kyrie Irving and Alonzo Mourning were among the stars expected to be on hand for a series of star-studded fundraisers happening throughout the day Wednesday, offering some lucky donors the chance to test their game against the NBA stars.

They will be signing autographs and holding "skills camp" competitions. Tickets for the events, which the president will not attend, were still available as of Tuesday afternoon for $250 to $2,500 per person, a campaign official said.