The city has removed hundreds of police barricades from the Financial District, a day after local politicians complained to Mayor Michael Bloomberg about them. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and others said they were a nuisance to those who live and work downtown.
It's hard to find anyone in the area who likes the barricades. The metal fences have lined much of Wall Street since protesters began camping out in Zuccotti Park a few blocks away. People who work on Wall Street are welcoming the change, like Elizabeth Block who said she's pleased they're gone.
"I don't know what they accomplished, as far as the demonstrators, but they certainly were an inconvenience to people who work here and for tourists," she said.
Block said she and others avoided the area as much as possible because of the inconvenience. "The area outside the stock exchange is always very crowded and with the barricades it made it almost impossible to walk around there."
Mayor Bloomberg commented on Wednesday about some of the local inconveniences since the protests began.
"Increasingly you're seeing that the community, residents and businesses in lower Manhattan feel that they are the ones that are being occupied," he said. "This isn't an occupation of Wall Street, it's the occupation of a growing vibrant residential neighborhood."
Many of the barricades that were removed are bunched up along the sides of buildings. But Teddy Rojas, who's been working on Wall Street for a year, said he's not optimistic they'll stay there.
"I think they'll be back up in the next week. And I think the protesters will do something to make them go back up," he said.
(Photo: The NYPD took down barricades in Lower Manhattan and set them to the side. Kathleen Horan/WNYC)
The NYPD did replace some of the barricades at Wall and Broad streets as an Occupy Wall Street march was getting underway. A community affairs officer said the barricades would come and go as the situation warrants.