Conflicts & War

Sawdust permeates the air as New York’s iconic Fifth Avenue boarded up

By Jorge Fuentelsaz.

New York City, US, June 2 (efe-epa).- The storefronts of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue all look the same: huge wooden slat walls set up abruptly to ward off the looting that usually follows the peaceful protests against racism and police brutality in the United States over the past week.

The boards have been raised in the last four days and the entire iconic avenue – a symbol of the opulence and power of the Big Apple – smells of sawdust.

Within hours before the second consecutive curfew took place, downtown New York looked like it was still affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with hardly any cars or people on the streets.

A couple of businesses were still working hard to prevent an eventual explosion of violence and looting on the fifth day of demonstrations of African American George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer last week.

Less than two hours before the curfew took place, Daniel and his partner were working in the storefront of the Ann Taylor boutique.

He has been working as a glazier at KFM for 22 years and said he has never seen this before. Racing against the clock, they nailed up wooden panels to protect the expensive windows.

“I have put panels on broken windows before, but nothing like this,” Daniel told EFE as he finished placing the wooden structures on which he was to nail the boards to prevent the premises being targeted by any violent protesters.

His company sent him from Maryland, but other colleagues are doing the same in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

However, Daniel said that this improvised wooden construction has more of a dissuasive than protective purpose.

“If they want to break the windows, they are going to break them,” he said, illustrating what happened Monday night to the iconic Macy’s department store and to so many other Midtown establishments.

Perhaps it is for this reason that at the iconic Apple store, very close to Central Park, a real wall made of wood and steel, was built – to avoid repeated looting.

Throughout Fifth Avenue, the city’s shopping and luxury goods mecca, just a handful of owners have chosen not to protect their store’s windows.

Among them Gucci, in Trump Tower, and Armani, just beside it, in addition to Nike, have chosen to resort to police and private security agents. They hope that the security that protects the US president’s building will serve as a protective shield. These are the few meters of the street that do not smell of sawdust. EFE-EPA


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