The NYPD promised record security through election day, and this morning an imposing barrier of ten Sanitation Department trucks parked end-to-end on Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets, creating a fabulously ironic wall outside of Trump Tower—tremendous, really.
Photographer Scott Heins says that as of this afternoon, security is imposing, if porous. "Roughly 20 uniformed officers are watching the front of the building," he said. "General public walking on Fifth Avenue isn't being allowed in, but those who say they wish to shop inside Trump Tower are being let in." Other police officers said only residents and building staff could pass through.
Drivers were spotted sitting inside some of the trucks, some scrolling on their smartphones.
"I don't like that, because I can't see. I wanted to see him walk in there," said Trump supporter Brandy Walton. Walton, from Washington State, has been in town since the marathon this weekend.
"He appeals to me because he seems really honest and down to earth," she added. "And he's not involved in politics. He's not involved in the clique, that's what I [mean]. You don't really need to be into politics to run. People who are in politics I don't really trust, because they lie all the time."
— Monica Langley (@monicalangley) November 8, 2016
The NYPD confirmed that the deployment of sanitation trucks is a security measure for the hours when Trump is in and around the building, but did not immediately comment on when the mobile barriers might clear. NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez said on Monday afternoon that security will be in place "as long as Donald Trump is in the tower," adding, "When he goes out we will open traffic as best we can."
— Diana Blass (@dianablass) November 8, 2016
In the meantime, about a dozen Trump supporters—including the Naked Cowboy, who's broken out some fresh undies for the occasion—are milling around in a pen across the street, at the corner of 56th Street. According to reporters on the scene, the area is also "crawling" with Secret Service agents. Heavy police presence as well: about 100 cops and 30 squad cars.
Supporters and protesters are mingling in the pen, though the pro-Trump contingent is out in greater numbers, with flags and signs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the afternoon Trump Tower crew is hardly camera shy, or short on conviction.
Joe Zeno, 47, lives in New Jersey but grew up in Bed-Stuy, in the NYCHA-run Marcy Houses. He said that he supports Trump in large part because of his national security stance.
"Number one reason I'm voting for Trump is for national security," Zeno said. "I got nothing against Muslims, but what sane nation allows a percentage of Muslims, radical, mostly men of military age into this country at a time like this?"
"Because I'm Hispanic I have to vote a certain way?" he added. "No. What kind of nonsense is that? I've been called a white lover, like I'm acting white. No, I'm acting common sense."
— David Fishman (@davidpkfishman) November 8, 2016
— Boogie Fever News (@amikelberg) November 8, 2016
— Sara Sekine (@SaraSekine) November 8, 2016
"I like that he's a strong advocate of the second amendment," another Trump supporter said. "I think he'll bring great relations with Russia. I'm very pro-Russian. And a vote for Trump is a vote against globalism. I'm against Hillary's empire-building and her interventionism."
— Michael Gerbavsits (@MGerbavsits) November 8, 2016
Erin Vaughn, 20, told us that she was passing by Trump Tower when she noticed two women holding anti-Trump signs. She went to CVS, and got supplies for a sign of her own. "There were really only two of them here protesting so I was like, I might as well join," she said. "Honestly Trump really scares me. I have a disabled brother, I'm a woman. I don't want to live in a country where hateful rhetoric continues to be spread."
"I'm really excited to wake up tomorrow and for all of this to be over," she added. "But the problem is he... hasn't said that he's going to accept the results. So I think even if Hillary wins there's going to be a lot of dangerous rhetoric and riots."
We'll update with more dispatches from the scene later.
Additional reporting by Scott Heins.
[UPDATE 3:30]: This piece has been updated with comments from Trump supporters and protesters gathered outside of Trump Tower.