Friday, November 18, 2016

Weekends in New York With The Donald

New York Magazine frets that President Donald Trump might spend weekends in his NYC home, which would bring White House-levels of security to that stretch of Fifth Avenue. "If President Trump really uses Trump Tower as his regular getaway from the burdens of the Oval Office ... The man in the high castle will have turned a public thoroughfare into a glowering moat."

I think their language is overwrought - militarization?? - however, there is certainly a real adverse impact on public spaces when such a large security footprint is imposed on a congested city.

Trump Tower, Fifth Avenue, and the Militarization of Urban Public Space:
Fifth Avenue in the 50s is almost always clotted with pedestrians and cars, and this time of year it becomes even more congested as department stores turn their windows into Christmas Barneys-, Saks-, and Dior-amas. But Trump’s election has turned his stretch of Fifth into the urban equivalent of the security line at JFK: Aluminum barriers squeeze traffic into a pair of lanes, sidewalks are blocked off, and pedestrians shuffle past a gauntlet of armed officers.

-- snip --

We’ve seen it so often: Jersey barriers and modular fences, automatic weapons slung across Kevlar vests — the whole visible apparatus of control and intimidation in the name of safety.

-- snip --

Ever since 9/11, architects and planners have looked for more genial ways to minimize potential threats: cameras, of course, but also bollards that look like charming street furniture [TSB Note: They really do! Please click the link.] and public structures that are tougher than they appear. Even so, militarizing the streets has become the option of first resort, establishing a presence that’s as frail as it is aggressive. Paris has been bristling with security forces since the Charlie Hebdo attacks — which didn’t prevent the calamity of the Bataclan less than a year later. The 85,000 soldiers who kept Rio de Janeiro quiescent during the Olympics retreated after the crowds went home — and the military soon found itself in a shooting war with resurgent gangs. Blatant security works like a burglar alarm sticker on a front door: It announces to aspiring evildoers that they’ll do better down the block. And shooters tend to take that advice, attacking cafés, movie theaters, offices, elementary schools, and relatively unguarded streets rather than the fortified “targets” identified by consultants like, say, Rudolph Giuliani.

It's enough to make you appreciate Camp David. Maybe Trump will give Fifth Avenue shoppers a break and take up fly-fishing in the Catoctin Mountain streams, like Hoover and Eisenhower did. But, then, I really don't see him as the fly-fishing type.


Anonymous said...

TSB: I love the transparency of seeing all these jobseekers coming and going. And next week will be a series of Huuuge stadium crowds across the flyover country showing how trump has re-united the party and showing he doesn't need the discredited, dying media..and maybe promising to re-gift that golf club he got to Obama for such a smooth transition. Meanwhile, Obama's legacy tour is nothing but around the world riots! gwb

James said...

I don't know about others, but when I see large shiny objects in the street with no apparent damage to them, I'm rather hesitant to bump into them with my vehicle. Now if there is a large group of them all in neat rows, plowing straight on through them just doesn't enter my mind.