Barack Obama's in town tonight, so that means you have precious few minutes left to get anywhere by car before the roads congeal with traffic and street closures. Beginning at about 5:15 this evening, the NYPD will close off streets surrounding the Hilton New York—where Obama is scheduled to speak at the NAACP's 100th anniversary convention—along with large chunks of FDR Drive in both directions. The shutdowns should last "for the duration of the event," which leads the NYPD to thoughtfully suggest that "drivers should avoid the Midtown area." If you're a pedestrian, though, break out the green plastic lawn chairs, because it looks like Midtown's going to be one big pedestrian mall tonight.

This will be Obama's first visit to New York City on official business. He's a keynote speaker for the NAACP convention, closing the six-day convention that has received visits from such notables as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Gov. Paterson, and Attorney General Eric Holder. Obama's remarks will be his first before the NAACP as the President, but the White House is downplaying the speech as anything landmark. Spokesman Robert Gibbs hesitates even to describe it as a "first," saying: "I think the first speech to black America, the first speech to white America, the first speech to America was the inaugural address."

Obama is probably hoping tonight's speech goes more smoothly than his stopover in New Jersey earlier today, though. The President spent part of the afternoon helping stump for Gov. Jon Corzine at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, but confusion over tickets left thousands of hopeful audience members lined up around the building stewing in high heat and humidity. Said Veronica Clark, 76, to the Star-Ledger: "You couldn't print what I want to say. There is no provisions for older people, no water." Meanwhile, Donnelle Rivers, 28, told reporters: "I'm hot, sweaty, and confused. We could just watch it on TV."

Perhaps the person hit worst by the ticket snafu was Corzine himself—when you're trailing your opponent by double-digits, the last thing you need to do is make your supporters thirsty and angry.