Trump Tower False Alarm Causes Real Evacuation, and Headache
Hundreds of suspicious packages in Midtown Manhattan were reported to the New York Police Department this year, but its response to one discovered at Trump Tower on Tuesday underscored the challenges and headaches that come with protecting the home of the president-elect.
Though President-elect Donald J. Trump was in Florida during the scare, the package — an abandoned backpack filled with toys — set off an evacuation that sent visitors and employees at the tower running into the streets about 4:30 p.m. and snarled traffic around the Fifth Avenue building.
尽管恐慌发生时，候任总统唐纳德·J·特朗普(Donald J. Trump)人在佛罗里达，但这个包裹——一个被丢弃的背包，里面都是玩具——导致的疏散行动，使大厦内的访客和员工在下午4点半左右跑到大街上，令这栋位于第五大道的建筑周围的交通乱作一团。
The police blocked off some of New York City’s most glutted arteries at the peak of the holiday season rush hour. The closing lasted just over an hour, but it choked traffic for miles. City buses were diverted, hordes of pedestrians were crammed behind barricades and stores in the area were forced to shut down.
“The current heightened security awareness in this area clearly drew much more attention to yesterday’s incident,” Stephen Davis, a spokesman for the Police Department, said in an email on Wednesday. “This was not a threat or even a mock device but rather an apparent case of a child’s backpack being left inadvertently near the building.”
In Washington, suspicious packages near the White House have become largely routine, and are rarely disruptive. The Secret Service regularly discovers packages left outside the White House gates, often along Pennsylvania Avenue. There, streams of visitors stop in front of the black iron fence to take pictures of the president’s home, as has occurred along Fifth Avenue, where the tower has become a tourist destination.
But that is where the similarities diverge: The 1600 section of Pennsylvania Avenue has been closed to vehicle traffic since 1995. The authorities took that step temporarily in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing; it was made permanent six years later, after the Sept. 11 attacks. In the rest of the nation’s capital, the discovery of a suspicious package does not usually cause serious traffic issues.
At Trump Tower, the backpack was found by the Secret Service by the lobby entrance of the Niketown store, where a corridor leads into a public atrium, the authorities said. A rough cordon around the 58-story tower, which sits between 56th and 57th Streets, and its surroundings went into almost immediate play: Both Fifth and Madison Avenues were closed to traffic from 55th to 57th Streets as the investigation unfolded.
At Obicà, a mozzarella bar inside the atrium that abuts the tower lobby, eight tables of diners evacuated midmeal did not return, according to the manager, and the restaurant joined the growing number of stores unhappy about how the protection efforts, including permanent street closings and police patrols, have hurt business around the tower.
Shortly after the tower reopened about 5:30 p.m., tourists in the pink marble lobby were taking selfies by the escalators, many unaware of the episode — and what had been perhaps the city’s biggest test yet in protecting the soon-to-be president’s penthouse home.
For the city, the police response also highlighted the huge financial cost associated with protecting Trump Tower. When Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump’s newly named press secretary, posted a message of thanks to the Police Department on Twitter after the false alarm, Eric Phillips, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, posted a riposte: “We’ll send you the bill.” City officials have requested reimbursement from the federal government for providing security for Mr. Trump, a cost they estimate will reach $35 million by his Jan. 20 inauguration. So far, $7 million has been set aside by federal officials.
对纽约而言，这次警方响应也突显出与保护特朗普大厦有关的巨大财务成本。警报解除后，特朗普新任命的白宫新闻发言人肖恩·斯派塞(Sean Spicer)在Twitter上向警察局发了一条信息致谢，纽约市长白思豪(Bill de Blasio)的发言人埃里克·菲利普(Eric Phillips)机敏地回应：“我们会给把账单发给你们的。”有市政官员已经要求联邦政府报销给特朗普提供安全保障的支出，据他们估计，至特朗普1月20日正式就职，这笔费用会达到3500万美元。截止目前，联邦官员已经拨出700万美元的资金。
Those inside the tower during the evacuation described a mix of measured and panicked responses. Video captured by a camera crew in the lobby showed parents clinging to their children as they ran across the marble.
A Trump Organization employee who declined to be identified because she was not authorized to speak to the news media said the upper floors had not been evacuated. “If it’s your time, it’s your time,” the employee recalled thinking as an announcement asking for calm and stating that an investigation was underway came over the building’s speakers. “This is the new norm for those that are here now,” she said.