NYPD blocked off ‘VIP’ viewing sites for friends, family during July 4th fireworks

NYPD blocked off 'VIP' viewing sites for friends, family during July 4th fireworks

John, a Manhattan resident who asked that his last name be withheld because his company is contracted with the NYPD, said he encountered one of the parties at Stuyvesant Cove on Manhattan’s East Side Monday, but was quickly told to leave the area.

“This was definitely not any kind of staging or command center, they just rolled up and blocked off the best seats for them and their friends,” he said. “The [message] was: you shouldn’t be here, don’t bother us.”

The group, he said, set up dozens of chairs, amplified music, and coolers of food and drinks – items that are banned from official viewing areas, according to NYPD rules. Adding to his aggravation, John said he returned to his Stuy Town apartment to find cars bearing police union placards parked along the complex’s loop and on either side of the sidewalk, where vehicles are not permitted to park.

“They’re very visibly positioning themselves as VIPs [who] can do what other people can’t,” he said. “There’s not a lot of consideration for the people who live here.”

Miller, the NYPD spokesperson, did not respond directly to a question about officers parking their cars along the loop. He noted that priority for the accommodations went to “widows and orphans of police officers who went to work and never made it home.”

Photos posted to Instagram showed the Police Benevolent Association was passing out food and drinks to members in the viewing areas. Hours after Gothamist inquired with the union about one of the photos — which shows a police union truck parked in an area of ​​Manhattan’s Waterside Plaza that was closed off to the public — the post was deleted. A union spokesperson deferred comment to the NYPD.

Other New Yorkers reported a similar exclusive gathering on the Brooklyn side of the fireworks.

Ashley Bardhan, a 23-year-old Bed-Stuy resident, said she arrived at Domino Park to watch the show before 7 pm, more than two hours before it was set to start. As she searched for a spot among the throngs of spectators, she noticed an elevated walkway with plenty of space. When she approached, Bardhan said, an officer guarding the barricade told her to move along.

“I asked who can go up there and he said: ‘You can’t.’ I said, ‘Okay but who can?’ He said ‘special people,’” Bardhan recalled. “I asked if it was just friends and family of police officers and he smiled and said ‘maybe.'”

The officer later conceded that he had just let in a detective and his family, Bardhan said.

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