NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Joe Biden is in the oval office.
Donald Trump is now a resident of Florida.
So the NYPD has scaled back its presence at the Fifth Avenue tower that bears the former president’s name.
After more than four years of tight security and frequent protests, it’s a relief for many in Midtown.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports, 58-story Trump Tower has loomed large over Fifth Avenue since 1983, never moreso than during the candidacy and presidency of its namesake.
For more than four years, it has had a ring of protection, which is now slowly being peeled back.
“Anything that normalizes the area is good,” said Jerome Barth of the Fifth Avenue Association. “People are looking to go back to what is the regular function of the street.”
A street that has seen countless heated protests and bizarre interruptions, including a man’s effort to scale the building in 2016.
About a month after Donald Trump was elected president, the city surveyed dozens of businesses from 53rd Street to 59th Street, Park Avenue to Sixth Avenue. About half said the security measures were severely impacting revenue. Foot traffic fell, and deliveries were delayed.
At Carlton Fine Arts, owner Charles Saffati says Trump-related security measure had an impact, especially with street closures when he was at the Tower.
“Everything was closed off. Of course it affects business,” Saffati said.
But he says it’s nothing compared to the pandemic.
“Now that the restaurants closed, the few clients that were in town, they left. They went to Florida, the Hamptons. The city became a dead zone,” he said.
Fifth Avenue is pockmarked with empty storefronts. Looking to better days, some believe Trump Tower’s place in history will be a draw.
“I think that for the long-term future of the avenue, it’s a good thing. I believe people will be interested in the building for many, many years to come,” Barth said.
The NYPD won’t discuss specifics, but you can expect a lighter security footprint, and a slow return close to the way things were before Trump took that escalator trip to the tower lobby in 2015.
The Secret Service also declined to comment on security at Trump Tower.
It’s expected that 56th Street between Park and Fifth Avenues will reopen to traffic, but no one is saying when.
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Tony Aiello serves as a CBS2 general assignment reporter with a focus on covering news and breaking stories in the Northern Suburbs.More from Tony Aiello