Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The "Private" Public Sidewalk

It isn't a speech incident, but this story attests to the manner in which officials sometimes abuse their discretion and privatize public spaces.  In this instance, New York City police officers blocked the public from accessing a portion of West 61st Street during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  A reporter inquired about the limited access:

The ultimate guardians, though, were two gray-suited Trump employees holding lists of people staying at the hotel and their invited guests. If you were not on the lists, you were not getting onto that street.

“Only for guests of the hotel and the apartment building,” one of the suits said when I tried to enter 61st Street.

“It’s a public street,” I said.

“Not today,” he said. “Only for guests of the building.”

When I persevered, he said, “Go speak to the cops.”
The police on the scene explained that the street was closed -- to the public only -- for "counterterrorism" reasons.  Right.

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