UPDATE II: 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 7: Along with the release of President Joe Biden’s official schedule confirming his trip to New York City on Wednesday, a longtime member of the Democratic National Committee has confirmed to West Side Rag that the president will be visiting a home on Riverside Drive for a fundraiser.
Biden will arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport at 12:40 p.m., before landing at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at 1:10 p.m.
He then will participate in three Manhattan campaign receptions at 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 5:45, p.m., according to his schedule.
It is unclear which of the three stops will be on the Upper West Side.
Biden will then depart from JFK at 8 p.m back to the White House.
UPDATE: 11 A.M. on Tuesday, February 6: West Side Rag has received official confirmation from a source incredibly familiar with the barricade situation that President Joe Biden will be coming to the Upper West Side for a fundraiser on Wednesday.
Exact details remain unavailable.
By Gus Saltonstall
Over the span of the last five days, and continuing on Monday morning, metal barricades have begun to accumulate in various sections of the Upper West Side.
The placement appears peculiar, but it might have something to do with a possible visit from President Joe Biden this week.
Barricades currently sit on the west side of Broadway from 70th Street until 77th Street, before disappearing and reappearing again on West 81st Street. The barricades are outside of the 72nd Street Trader Joe’s, positioned in front of Fairway, and wrapped around the majority of the 72nd Street 1, 2, and 3 train station.
The metal gates are also on the east side of Broadway, but appear less frequently there, as well as stationed within multiple Broadway medians.
The barricades are also appearing west of Broadway.
There are barricades on Riverside, West End, and between the two avenues from West 75th to 77th streets.
A reader emailed West Side Rag over the weekend to say that a doorman within the stretch had told them that the barricades were related to a visit from President Joe Biden this coming Wednesday.
The Rag asked three doormen on Monday morning between West 75th and 77th streets if they knew the reason for the barricades, and while two didn’t have any clues, one said that they heard “it might be related to the president coming,” but did not expand further on the answer.
A presidential visit is a challenging event to confirm.
Biden’s official schedule is not posted until the corresponding morning, but the publication WDEL, which tracks the president’s comings and going, does say that Biden will travel to New York City on Wednesday to “participate in three campaign events.”
The publication did not offer any details on where in the city the visit might be.
NYPD did not respond to the Rag’s request for explanation of the appearance of the barricades.
Other activities such as protests, television and movie filming, and Con Edison work could also be reasons for barricades to go up in the neighborhood, but West Side Rag did not find any supporting evidence for those.
As of Monday morning, there was no mandatory signage to advise residents of street closures due to filming for a television show or movie, there was no sight of Con Edison trucks, workers or signs, and there is no scheduled major protest for the Upper West Side, according to an Instagram page that tracks protests throughout the city.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will also be performing at the Beacon Theatre from February 7 to February 18, but it is not standard practice for the venue to put out barricades anywhere besides its square block between West 74th and 75th streets — and certainly not all the way to Riverside.
To add to the mystery, multiple people posted to an Upper East Side Reddit page on Monday morning saying that police barricades had suddenly appeared along Madison and York avenues from the high 50s to the low 80s.
“There are no signs for a permitted event anywhere, so I assumed the president was going to be in town and this was a planned route,” one person wrote.
West Side Rag will update this article if a Biden trip to the Upper West Side is confirmed.
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