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City Reopens Part of 56th Street That Was Shut Down to Protect Trump Tower

By Noah Hurowitz | December 28, 2016 10:50am
 Security remains tight around Trump Tower nearly two months after the election.
Security remains tight around Trump Tower nearly two months after the election.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

MIDTOWN — Part of East 56th Street that's been closed to crosstown traffic since the presidential election in an effort to secure Trump Tower has been reopened.

Cars are now able to travel between Fifth and Sixth avenues on the street for the first time in nearly two months — after Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered it reopened on Wednesday, according to a statement from City Hall.

The move came from a desire to balance the safety of the President-elect and the needs of the local business community, according to Police Commissioner James O’Neill.

"Protecting the President-elect while minimizing the impact to nearby businesses has required constant dialogue from everyone involved," said O'Neill.

"We welcome the reopening of 56th street to increase pedestrian and vehicular movements in the area while still maintaining the security of the next President of the United States." 

The mayor announced the reopening of the block just hours after police evacuated Trump Tower over concerns about a suspicious package.

READ MORE: Trump Tower Evacuated Over Unattended Bag of Christmas Toys, Officials Say

The package was eventually deemed to be full of children's Christmas toys — but not before police pushed thousands of tourists, Trump Tower employees and other passersby blocks away from the building.

An NYPD mobile command center, which was previously located on the southwest corner of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue, will be moved to the northern side of 56th Street in order to allow a right-hand turn onto Fifth Avenue from 56th Street.

The stretch of East 56th Street between Madison and Fifth avenues will remain closed for the time being, a spokesman said.

The move came after weeks of complaints from business owners that security around Trump Tower, particularly the closing of that street, was killing foot traffic during the usually busy holiday season.

The reopening was cheered by Councilman Dan Garodnick.

“Since Election Day, the closed and barricaded street looked and felt like a war zone, and it was directly affecting the bottom line of the hardworking business owners on the block,” Garodnick said in a statement.

“This development sends a message to all New Yorkers and visitors that 56th Street is open for business.”