New York City

Midtown Stores Board Up Windows Ahead of Potential Election Night Unrest

NBC Universal, Inc.

Plywood covered businesses in Midtown Manhattan once again Friday as the city prepares for what lies ahead following the results of the presidential election.

Macy's boarded up its windows as fears grow about unrest on Election Night and the days that follow. It's a familiar sight to the weeks of protest immediately following the death of George Floyd that were accompanied by looting and destruction to businesses and public locations around the borough.

"Our windows at Macy's Herald Square were previously scheduled to be dark next week in set-up for our annual holiday displays. Out of an abundance of caution, we are implementing additional security measures at several of our stores," a spokesperson for the company said via email.

So far, Macy's plans to maintain business hours through the weekend and into Election Day.

Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed concerns of fallout of an unpredictable Election Day. No matter the makeup of a protest, the mayor said peaceful protests will be respected and facilitated, but any violence would be stopped immediately.

"We're going to be prepared for a lot of protests, prolonged protests, potentially different protest groups confronting each other. It's too early to tell what that's going to look like," de Blasio told WNYC's Brian Lehrer.

Not far from the Macy's flagship department store, windows at the T-Mobile store in Times Square were covered with protective plywood by the afternoon. It's not clear how many stores have taken precautions already, but that number is expected to grow as the countdown to Election Day drops.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said he's the department has been advising some Midtown businesses to remove their merchandize from sidewalks in order to allow any potential protesters to move unimpeded.

"We're not telling people to board up their stores but we're getting those questions from people," Shea told WCBS 880 on Friday.

What will the streets of New York look like on election night and in the days after? Given all the unrest that's unfolded this year, it is a question police are planning for. Chris Glorioso reports.

Earlier this month, the NYPD issued a memo notifying all uniformed officers they should be prepared for deployment because protests could intensify leading up to and beyond Election Day. But NYPD brass also said they have no indication demonstrators will be anything but peaceful as the vote is processed.

"Right now we have no specific credible threat regarding this election," said John Miller, NYPD Deputy Chief of Intelligence and Counterterrorism. "We are set up to receive any reports of voter intimidation or fraud."

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