Make Room for the CEO and Billionaire, Please
Most people who show up at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade have to press up against thousands of other people to catch a glimpse of the spectacle; some have been known to turn up before sunrise to snag a choice spot. But some lucky folks got really lucky this year. Who, you ask? People like Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and hedge fund mogul Dan Loeb, that's who.
It seems the NYPD designated that one block would be off-limits to the hoi polloi during the parade—the pricey bit of turf in front of 15 Central Park West and the Trump International Hotel:
One side street, however, was off-limits to them: West 61st between Broadway and Central Park West. Police officers stretched sawhorses across the street at Broadway to make sure no one entered. No one, that is, except a privileged few who passed muster with concierges who served as gatekeepers.
You have to understand the topography of that portion of 61st Street. On the south side sits the Trump International Hotel and Tower, where room rates on Monday began at $595 a night, taxes not included. On the north side is 15 Central Park West, a new aerie for the gigarich that extends to 62nd Street. Condos there have sold for as much as $45 million.
15 Central Park West is home to some of the richest residents of the city, of course, people like Blankfein and Loeb, as well as former Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill, hedge funder Dan Och, Denzel Washington, and Sting. People who, if they'd wanted to, could have rented a helicopter to watch the parade from the crowd-free skies overhead. So why were they given special treatment?
A NYPD sergeant first informed Clyde Haberman of the Times that it was done as part of a "counter-terrorism" measure. But then Paul Browne, the NYPD's mouthpiece, offered another explanation:
The Police Department's chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said that "the area was designated a viewing space for persons with disabilities."
Maybe overpaying for an apartment at the height of the real estate bubble is now considered a disability? Let's hope so. Blankfein sure could use a break on his monthly Metrocard!