Thousands Attend Rockefeller Tree Lighting with Increased Security
NYPD increased the security measures for this year’s Christmas tree lighting due to heightened vigilance in the wake of the truck attack in Tribeca in October.
- By Jessica Davis
- Nov 30, 2017
Thousands attended the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting in New York City on Wednesday evening alongside increased security measures put in place by NYPD. To see the 75-foot-tall Norway Spruce in person, attendees had to pass through a security screening.
According to police before the event, there were no specific threats made. Instead, NYPD increased the security measures for this year’s Christmas tree lighting due to heightened vigilance in the wake of the truck attack in Tribeca in October.
NYPD Chief of Patrol Terance Monahan described the security measures Wednesday before the lighting that evening.
“We’re going to have six entry points coming in, at each one of the entry points you’re going to have a magnetometer there so people will be wanded similar to coming in to Times Square,” Monahan said. “We’ve dropped off concrete block surrounding the entire avenue on 5th and 6th, that wasn’t out there last year so we’ve increased that sort of security.”
Umbrellas, alcohol, backpacks and large bags were prohibited at the event. In addition to the security screenings and barriers at intersections, last-minute repairs were made to security cameras and police presence was out in force.
“We’re going to have our sniper teams out, we’re going to have our dogs, the same counter-terrorism overlay that we had for Thanksgiving will be out there again tonight,” Monahan said prior to the event.
This is the first year that the NYPD has closed streets around the tree for an extended period. From Thursday until Jan. 2, 2018, 49th and 50th streets between 5th and Avenue of the Americas will be closed to vehicle traffic on weekdays from 5 p.m. until midnight and on weekends from 1 p.m. until midnight.
Spectators seemed to appreciate the visible security at the tree lighting.
“A huge police presence, a lot of dogs, officers, you couldn’t feel more safe,” one visitor said.
Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.