Why Are Sidewalk-Blocking NYPD Barricades Still Up on West 82nd Street?

NYPD barricades across 82nd Street sidewalk at Columbus, photo taken July 6, 2020

By Joy Bergmann

For over a month, multiple NYPD metal barricades have blocked pedestrian access to the sidewalks lining West 82nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, a block that’s home to NYPD’s 20th Precinct and many Upper West Siders. More barricades bar members of the public from entering the precinct building without first being screened by an officer stationed outside.

The barricades appeared at around the same time protests against police brutality began filling city streets in late May and early June. The city’s curfew to quell spates of looting and property damage ended on June 7. And yet the barricades remain in place.

Some residents say forcing them to walk in the street is a safety concern.

“I have two young children and we have to walk into the street and back onto the sidewalk multiple times just to walk down the street,” one reader wrote to us. “It seems quite dangerous when cars are zipping quickly by. I don’t understand why it is necessary to have these barricades permanently blocking the sidewalks rather than leaving them on the side and closing them if and when they feel this is necessary. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hit by a car because they needed to walk in the street to pass the barricades.”

NYPD barricade across sidewalk at 82nd and Amsterdam, photo taken June 5, 2020

So when will the barricades come down? WSR did not receive an answer during a visit to the 20th on Monday afternoon.

“You know I’m not even going to say anything, so. You know that already,” said Lt. Reid, the supervising officer in charge.

Who would be able to say?

“My commanding officer. He’s not here right now,” said Lt. Reid. “He’s out on medical.”

When will 20th Precinct Commanding Officer Capt. Neil Zuber be back?

She didn’t know. “I’m sorry. If you want to wait a couple weeks and talk to him, by all means you can. But I’m not going to give you any information that I don’t know,” she said.

An officer posted outside the 20th Precinct at 120 W. 82nd St. on July 6, 2020

A subsequent attempt on Tuesday morning to obtain information was rebuffed by officers stationed outside the 20th, several of whom were wearing black elastic bands over their shield numbers. Such bands, known as “Mourning Bands,” are not to be worn over shield numbers according to NYCPD Public Patrol Guide Procedure No:  204-17 (see page 221).

Some area residents don’t understand why the barricades remain in place.

“If they put them there for safety, it forces you to walk in the street. That’s not safe,” said John, a local. He pointed to the outdoor dining tables set up by the Flame restaurant on 82nd. “It’s also probably hurting the restaurant.”

A waiter at the Flame said he didn’t know why the barricades were up and could see how they would impede foot traffic, but, “there’s generally less people on the streets.”

A woman eating a sandwich on a stoop next to the precinct said she was, “a little bit concerned” about having to walk in the street.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer calls the block one of her favorites in the city and would like to see things returned to pre-May conditions. “We know [the barricading] was because of the protesters. I would hope the police would take them down. I’d also like to see the police go back to regular, parallel parking of vehicles in front of the precinct.” Some NYPD vehicles are currently parked perpendicular to the curb.

Brewer says she has friends living at 127 West 82nd, where another set of barricades stands. “I don’t understand why they have to keep going around those barricades,” she said.

Councilmember Helen Rosenthal’s office did not respond to requests for comment about the barricades.

Additional mid-block barricades near 127 W. 82nd St, photo taken July 6, 2020

On Monday afternoon WSR also visited the 24th Precinct at 151 West 100th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. No barricades impeded pedestrian traffic on that block’s sidewalk. The precinct building does have barricades in front and an officer stationed outside. No one may enter without first being screened, an Officer Cruz told WSR.

WSR emailed and called the NYPD press office asking if a new policy is in place across the department regarding precinct entry, barricades and/or additional security measures. We have not yet received a response, but will update this story if one arrives.

24th Precinct on W. 100th Street on July 6, 2020

NEWS | 53 comments | permalink
    1. gio says:

      plain and simple ….cops are running scared

    2. Ari says:

      There is a similar barricade setup on the block of a precinct on E 67th St, so it’s not just us.

    3. NotImpressed says:

      The fact that badge numbers are being hidden suggests that the officers intend to do the wrong thing when they can.
      An honest, moral officer would not do such a thing.

      • Ken says:

        West 54 Street between 8th and 9th has a police station and has been blocked for over a month. I’d also like to know why all the blocks surrounding the Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle are blocked. We need that bike lane on CPW to avoid biking up Broadway where there is not enough room for bikes and cars.

        • Jamie says:

          This same block (54th between 8th and 9th Ave) is completely closed to cars and pedestrians; you may only enter if you live on the block. There are so many parked cars of police officers there that the block looks like a parking lot.

    4. Bob says:

      I don’t want to think of the NYPD as the enemy of the people; it’s the exact opposite of who they should be, and of who they could be. But it’s very hard not to think of them that way when they act like this.

      This story is full of examples of the police acting like they are at war with the people, whether by erecting barricades, by refusing to talk, or by violating regulations by hiding badge numbers. And I have to think that if that’s their view of the people, if they think they’re our enemy, then we gotta replace them.

      That’s the only possible solution here, unless the rank and file gets their heads on straight and realizes that this us against them nonsense has to end. You’re either one of us, or you’ve got to get a new job.

      • Raj Kumar says:

        Ask yourself if there is a possibility that they are protecting property. Maybe, just maybe, one reason is that they dont want people to destroy property that taxpayers have to foot the bill for.

        • Karen says:

          Raj, protecting property would be the best scenario. However, the way the article reads, no one from the department will say why they are barricading. And the wearing of arm bands in such a way to obscure identification is certainly troubling.

        • Bob says:

          Protecting property from… what, exactly?

          The “enemy.”

          Us.

          And the only “property” they’re purportedly protecting is their own; they don’t see it as public property.

    5. Mark P says:

      Wow. What an example of excellent reporting Joy!
      – thoroughly researched: multiple contacts and comparisons to other precincts.
      – completely factual: all opinions are quotes, not expressions of the reporter herself.
      Would you please seek employment at the Times? 🙂

      I feel for our police officers, but it’s not a great look for them to keep these up.

    6. michael says:

      ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
      R. Frost

    7. Ryo says:

      If they don’t give you an answer as to why the barricades are set up. Remove them yourself. There’s no emergency and is causing you to be forced to jaywalk and be unsafe especially with children. While you remove them, have someone film it all you are protected.

      • robert says:

        Go ahead and try it……no don’t as I want to hear you whine we you get arrested. Try interfering with governmental administration,
        disorderly conduct, as well as several violations of Cuomo and de Balz multiple ex orders on safety and security

    8. Ivette says:

      I don’t understand what’s the big deal of walking around the freaking barrier. It doesn’t take science to walk around the barrier. You’re acting like the rest of these liberals always looking for a reason to harrass cops for stupid little things. There’s a reason why some precincts have this type of setup nowadays because of everything that’s going on. It’s only taking from Columbus Ave to Amsterdam on West 82nd Street. Its not the end of the world, geez.Have you not got anything else to do with your life? THESE barriers are only temporary so relax.

      • Jerry says:

        Sorry, Ivette, but I think anyone who lives in the neighborhood is entitled to an explanation. Who says the barriers are temporary, and if they are/were temporary what are/were they for and why are they still there? The police are not (or should not be) a military or occupying force. Why are badge numbers covered? Why don’t the police understand that the protests against them have been earned by their behavior and their toxic culture and that both need to change? Calling commenters liberals (and implying that this is an aspersion) for daring to question what is going on on our streets and in our neighborhood is silly.

      • Raj Kumar says:

        People are always complaining. They always walk in the street even when the sidewalk isnt blocked. Most dont wait for the pedestrian signals to say WALK, and many start to cross the street when there is less than 5 seconds left. So, why are they kicking up a storm now? Because they hate the police and anything that isnt chaos.

      • Tim says:

        Thanks Ivette. These snowflakes whine about a temporary, minor inconvenience that was brought about by the public’s overwhelming vitriol, disdain, and aggressiveness toward our police department. Countless videos show people disrespecting or throwing projectiles at cops, or attacking precincts. And then people wonder why cops feel the need to protect their precinct. Unbelievable.

    9. HZ says:

      It seems like they may just like holding onto their extra parking space. They already take most of the spots on the block, and ignore alternate side parking. These barriers allow them to park sideways on the sidewalk. This is on top of their parking lot. Thanks for protecting public safety…..hmmmm..

    10. Chris O'Connor says:

      We live on the block and for about three weeks I have been asking when the barricades can come down. I have witnessed at least three occasions when protestors have walked by and in no instance was there a threat of violence. I do understand the police perspective about why they want to protect themselves and their precinct. I also understand the deterrent of barricades and patrols. For at least a week, I have not seen a patrol on the corner. I do see police outside the precinct.

      I have tried emailing Captain Zuber and received one reply early on about the violence to officers and the potential threat to the precinct. Subsequent emails have not gotten a response. I have also asked multiple officers and called the precinct asking about the barricades. The response is either “for the protection of the block and the police” or “I don’t know”. Either way it’s disappointing because it shows the breakdown between residents and police or the lack of transparency for what is becoming a community issue.

      I personally have almost been hit by a car twice with my two kids with me each time. I get honked at regularly when walking with a stroller down the street because we can’t weave in and out of cars easily. I see others almost hit by cars. It’s an accident waiting to happen and it sends a terrible message to the community. The work that Malin did is being undone by the lack of engagement and the stonewalling. The officers of the 20th are good people, but this is a sore spot.

    11. Abdul Sayeed says:

      Why?
      BECAUSE THEY CAN!
      They’re throwing a tantrum.
      They feel REJECTED.
      No one admires then anymore – or at least fewer people than before.
      They were on a roll since 9/11.
      But there’s been a cultural shift and now they’re pissed.
      So they put up barricades as both proof and symbol
      of their defense.
      I imagine they’ll adjust. Most two year olds grow up.

    12. Law abider says:

      Even better if they shut down the precinct entirely. Since we know there are no negative consequences when police are disrespected and attacked and vilified, locals should have no fear if they leave entirely . . .

    13. RSB says:

      what do you expect when police are now both under siege and underfunded.

      I hope all you jerks won’t ever need a cop. Yeeesh.

      • Ken Hittel says:

        $6Billion is underfunded? What then are social services? Give me a break!

        • Gilligan says:

          My hunch is that you think $6 Billion is way too much for cops but that $24 Billion for the DOE is not nearly enough.

    14. Marlene henry says:

      Leave the great men and women in nyc. Go home sit down and worry about all the shooting in our city. Stay safe officers.

    15. robert says:

      This is ridiculous in the extreme
      First of all the barricades were put up in response to several attempts by violent mobs to storm precincts across the city. Numerous precincts were damaged as well as both NYPD and officers personal vehicles. Powerful fireworks were repeatedly fired directly at officer, injuring a number.
      The barricades are there also so people will not be able to mark up the walls. For example FTP has repeatedly been spray panting in and around the 24 as well as “Kill Trump” The must aggreges of these are the repeated marking up of the Fireman’s memorial on 100th & RSD Parks has power washed the painted graffiti off but being soft limestone and marble it has left discolored outlines that will take years to weather in. But the places where “Kill Trump” was carved into the marble bench’s are still there. As per Parks they will have to cut the bench’s out to take them to a shop to grind them down, reseal them and then reinstall them. But this will cost $$$ that just is not there.

      If you look the 24 has barricades as well. They can block the entire street at Amsterdam if needed. The actual building is set back off the lot line so they can still block access to it, while allowing people to walk by. The 20 has a much smaller frontage.

      As for badge numbers they have their name on the other side with no black band on them. Know many of the officers and the command at the 24 they are not trying to “hide” anything. Many officers have had their personal info doxed, as did a large number of the city council that were “nos” on the city budget vote.
      And lastly you don’t have to walk in the street, just think in advance and walk on the other side of the street. We do this everyday at construction sites through the command.
      Pls think and or actually speak to precinct command to find out the why before stirring the pot of anti NYPD bias.

      • gg says:

        Um, the other side of the street is also blocked. Please understand the issue before weighing in.

        • robert says:

          There is space on that side of the street between the buildings and the barriers to walk through

      • Joe says:

        Both sides of the street have blocked sidewalks. Looks like you’re stirring the pot without knowing anything about the issue.

        • robert says:

          Walked by this am there is space on the other side of the street between buildings and parked cars.
          The whole idea is if they come for this precinct and others, which has been mentioned on certain intel They need to be ready to close the entire street.
          I’m sure the folks that had their cars torched just because they were on the same block as a precinct in lower man. would have wish they barricades were there.
          This stuff is not over, there have been several vilolant confrontations in recent days.

    16. Michael Sloane says:

      How hard is it to walk around the barrier ? Are you 100 percent sure shield numbers will covered or did you just generally see mourning bands. The mourning bands are above the shield #s. I don’t believe these cops are up to anything other than helping people. Maybe if we worried a little bit more about the community itself and held our politicians as accountable for more. Instead whining about barriers… umm there’s an uptick in shootings across NYC, but there’s a report about barriers. Oh right that doesn’t fit the agenda.

      • Tim says:

        Exactly Michael, its all about the narrative. “Police are bad”. Ignore the data – shootings are up DRAMATICALLY this year, ever since the plainclothes anti-crime unit tasked with focusing on getting guns off the street was dissolved.

        But by all means people, keep believing all police are bad.
        *eye-roll*

    17. Upperwestslider says:

      Our cops on west 82nd street are the kindest and most diverse group. I’m grateful to them for keeping us safe.

    18. Lynnette Robb says:

      They are still up cause there are anarchists that are burning police stations. Want to make it easier for them to get over there? They need to stay up.

    19. Ken Hittel says:

      Congrats on some first class reporting!

    20. jimbo says:

      I love all you cop hating leftwingers.The bottom line is this—JUST MIND YOUR BUSINESS
      and let the cops do their job.

    21. cpwpj says:

      Would you please investigate who ordered the barricades surrounding Trump International Hotel, from W. 62nd to Columbus Circle, CPW to Bway. They’ve effectively blocked pedestrians for weeks, causing vehicles and a bus route to be rerouted. There’s always a half-dozen cops standing idly by the barricades. Are we taxpayers paying for this? And if so, why?

      • Ken says:

        I forwarded this thread to the NY Times with a suggestion that they investigate. I’m especially curious about the disruptive barricades around the Trump
        International Hotel.

    22. OverIt says:

      What a bunch of whiners The lady complaining about the barricade is probably the first to call 911 regarding fireworks. Have you not seen people destroying police cars by throwing bottles or lighting them on fire. This is the reason the barricades are up. Every precinct is doing it, it’s not a big deal. Everyone jaywalks so just deal with it

      • Lady Di says:

        Amen ! some folks will find anything to whine about. And as another person wrote, the majority of folks, myself included, jay walk all the time so having to walk around a barricade is no different than walking around a double parked truck or car. I’m grateful the NYP hasn’t gone on strike yet, given the amount of abuse they’ve been taken. Yes there are bad cops as in any other group but the good ones outnumber the bad and they are understandably feeling a bit threatened lately. Moving a barricade a few inches or feet is not hard nor a crime so do it and get on with your day.

        • Will says:

          “Yes there are bad cops as in any other group”
          -Most other groups don’t have the legal protection working for them if they kill unarmed citizens like cops do. When Eric Garner was choked to death by Daniel Pantaleo, the officer smiled and waved to the camera after he had just killed a man. This is not the case of a few bad apples, this is sociopathic behavior that is encouraged from the top down.

    23. carlos r says:

      people are dying all the city, children are getting shot everyday. We are experiencing the most violent time in our city in the 20 years. The bail reform bill and the recent city council bills benefit only the criminals and future criminals. And then here is your article about Barricades. Google NYPD lt. shot inside of NYPD’s 41 pct just 5 months ago. not to mention the 4-5 commands the protesters tried to overtake including 1pp i might add.I understand cop bashing and cop hate is art an all-time high but this is by far the stupidest thing article I have ever read. Cry baby non sense. The city is burning but 4 people in the 20th pct are pissed off over barricades. lol

      • ConcernedUWSer says:

        This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read yet. You are all upset because a barricade is up on your pretty street when the rest of the neighborhood is full of raving lunatics? I just walked down Broadway and had a woman screaming at no one but moving toward people and garbage is everywhere, nevermind the homeless sleeping on every corner. Why is that OK? And oh wait, all the shootings the last 2 weeks in this city AND YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT BARRICADES around on your block you have to walk around?

        This is the most idiotic conversation I have seen yet and just wait until you really need our local police because the way things are going, you will.

        This neighborhood looks like dirty trash and crazy people. Worry about that for God’s sakes and wake up.

        • ConcernedUWSer says:

          @Carlos r. My comments were obviously to everyone, not you! So frustrated reading this ridiculous article I hit reply. Of all the things going on in this neighborhood with the lower quality of life on every corner, a police barricade on one block is the least important worry and I don’t understand how the rest of the neighborhood is ok with it. Now I’ll go and walk to work over the garbage everywhere and the homeless encampment on Amsterdam.

          • EdNY says:

            It boils down to a question of who has the right to use the sidewalk in the absence of a security issue. As public servants (remember?) the police should be able to respond to a simple inquiry. And it’s not a stretch to believe that they might be doing it for spite, which is absolutely wrong. Of course, if I had my priorities straight, I wouldn’t complain until there were 0 crimes in the city.

    24. Cliff says:

      Excellent article. Please post this story up on the WSR Instagram. This needs to be shared across platforms

    25. Arline Rodstrom says:

      They should come down when the Mayor, the Governor and the courts back our Police Officers. NYPD should have to take abuse when doing their job responsibly.

    26. westsider who knows says:

      My favorite part of the article…….”Councilmember Helen Rosenthal’s office did not respond to requests for comment about the barricades.” Again, our local city council member never seems to respond. I don’t care what the response is, she should respond in some way.

    27. Scott says:

      Thank you for reporting on this – please keep on it! For those of you who don’t have to walk on this block, maybe be a bit more understanding. I live on this block, and the barriers make it so you have no choice but to walk down the middle of the street…the same street these cops are FLYING down all day long. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hit.