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Gridlock Expected as Obama Returns for Beyonce and Jay-Z Fundraiser

By Jill Colvin | September 17, 2012 11:04am

MANHATTAN — President Barack Obama is set to return to the city for another star-studded fundraising blitz Tuesday — bringing with him another round of gridlock a day after the return of Occupy Wall Street choked streets downtown.

His visit coincides with forecasted heavy rain storms Tuesday afternoon.

Obama is set to attend a series of campaign events in the city, including a bash hosted by superstar power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé at the rapper’s famous 40/40 club, as well as a taping of the "Late Show with David Letterman," his campaign and the White House said.

He is set to touch down at JFK just after 3 p.m., according to the White House, and will likely make his way into Manhattan via the Wall Street heliport just before rush hour.

"He's back!" tweeted traffic guru Sam "Gridlock" Schwartz, who said drivers should expect closures on the FDR south of East 63rd Street between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. as the President travels up to Midtown.

The President's first stop will be the Ed Sullivan Theatre for a taping of the "Late Show with David Letterman," the White House said.

Schwartz said Obama will likely travel via 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, and said drivers should expect freezes all the way from First Avenue to Eighth Avenue. 53rd Street could also be closed throughout the day, forcing extra traffic onto 55th and 51st streets, he said.

After Letterman, the President will head to the ritzy Waldorf Astoria hotel where he's set to deliver remarks at a reception attended by about 200 people. Tickets for the event start at $12,500 per family, the campaign said.

The President will then head down to the 40/40 club, near Madison Square Park, for the shindig hosted by Jay-Z and Beyoncé. That event will be capped at approximately 100 guests paying $40,000 each to attend.

In addition to closures around the two venues, Schwartz warned drivers to avoid West 25th Street, which he said will likely be closed most of the day between between Fifth and Sixth avenues. The FDR is also expected to be closed once again around 10 p.m. when the President heads back downtown to the Wall Street heliport, en route home to Washington, D.C.

NY Waterway also warned Hudson and East River Ferry riders to plan for possible delays or temporary closures at the Wall Street Pier 11 from 3 p.m. to 4. p.m. and 10:10 p.m. and 11 p.m. because of the President's visit.

Obama has become a near-constant fixture in the city as he rushes to feed his campaign coffers ahead of the November election.

Last time he was here, Obama convened his very own basketball 'Dream Team,' shooting hoops with some of the NBA’s biggest stars, including former Chicago Bull Michael Jordan and New York Knicks greats Patrick Ewing and Bill Bradley.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z have also been long-time supporters of the president. In addition to attending his inauguration, Beyoncé has performed at the White House and helped out with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign against childhood obesity.

Proceeds from Tuesday's events will go the Obama Victory Fund, which funnels cash into Obama's campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.