If you are traveling to New York City for the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays, new security measures could cause flight delays in and out of the city, as well as some on-the-ground security issues that travelers should pay close attention to.
President-elect Donald Trump currently lives in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City with his wife, Melania, and 10-year-old son, Barron. In two months, the next First Family will move to the White House, but until then, security will be tight around Trump’s current home, including the implementation of a no-fly zone over midtown Manhattan, concrete barriers and sand-filled trucks placed around the Trump Tower, lane closures, and other security measures that are in force to protect Trump and his family.
According to ABC, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established a no-fly zone on November 9 that covers a two-mile wide area of midtown Manhattan. All aircraft will be banned that comes within a two-mile radius within 3,000 feet of the 58-story building, as well as helicopter tours of the city and drones.
Many people are wondering if the flight restriction is due to the city’s anti-Trump protests and if their flights in and out of the two major airports — JFK and LaGuardia — will be affected.
Although the New York Times reports that thousands of anti-Trump protesters have been gathering near Trump Tower since Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Tuesday night’s presidential election, the FAA tells ABC that the order is simply a security measure known as “VIP Movement” that will last until President-elect Trump’s inauguration on January 21, 2017.
Although the FAA has yet to release information about how this will affect domestic flights in and out of city’s two major airports, Mashable reports that travelers could experience travel delays from now until Trump moves to the White House. There are very few exceptions to the no-fly zone rule, but the United States Secret Service aircraft is allowed to fly within the otherwise banned zone.
In addition to the no-fly zone, security in and around the 58-story-high Trump Tower has been ramped up. According to the Daily Mail, the building is now surrounded by concrete barriers, and a row of sanitation trucks filled with sand are now in place to protect the Trump Tower against car bombs.
If you are traveling to New York City in the coming weeks for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Times Square tree lighting ceremony, or other holiday festivities in the weeks leading up to Christmas, be aware that the barricades are along Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets and one lane of traffic outside the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue is closed off between 5th and Madison.
And let’s not forget New Year’s Eve. The Times Square Alliance reports that last year an estimated 1 million people were in Times Square when the New Year’s Eve Ball dropped in One Times Square. Although there is about one mile between Trump’s current home and the site of the New Year’s Eve ball drop, visitors can expect extra-tight security all over the city this year.
For anyone who is going in or out of Trump Tower — perhaps to grab a bite to eat at the Trump Grill restaurant or purchase a souvenir at the Trump Store — expect security to be over-the-top. According to TMZ, the Secret Service and more than 30 NYPD officers are in and around Trump Tower, and “anyone going in and out of the building is being screened to keep the President-elect safe.”
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]