Obama Visit, Rockefeller Tree Lighting to Snarl Traffic

Traffic and gridlock come as no surprise to New Yorkers around the holidays, but Wednesday’s visit by President Barack Obama and the Rockefeller Center tree lighting could make for some real snarls in the city.

Obama is expected to make several stops during his campaign visit to the city, beginning at 4:30 p.m. when his plane lands at Kennedy airport.

The first two events are fundraisers, including a $35,800 a plate event at Gotham Bar and Grill on East 12th Street in Union Square. Afterward, the presidential motorcade will head to the Sheraton Hotel so Obama can attend a holiday reception.

His schedule is coinciding with several street closures already planned by the Department of Transportation for the big tree lighting at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan Wednesday night. Tens of thousands are expected to attend the festivities.

"The best way to get around town if you're heading to Midtown Manhattan, or even other parts of Manhattan, is to take public transportation," said Daily News columnist Sam Schwartz, aka Gridlock Sam.

He added, "This is going to be an absolute mess during the evening rush hour."

The following streets will be closed Wednesday November 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the Rockefeller Tree Lighting Ceremony.

  • 5th Avenue between 48th Street and 52nd Street
  • 6th Avenue between 48th Street and 52nd Street
  • 48th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 49th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 50th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 51st Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 52nd Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue

For more information on Manhattan street closures, click here.

With reporting by Brian Zumhagen