New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has temporarily called off the painting of a ‘Black Lives Matter mural’ scheduled to begin Thursday along Fifth Avenue – just feet from the U.S. president’s former home in Trump Tower.
No explanation was given by City Hall as to why the painting was postponed last minute and rescheduled to an unspecified time next week.
The postponement came after President Trump and Mayor de Blasio engaged in a Twitter spat over the mural on Wednesday night with Trump branding it a ‘symbol of hate’ and demanding the money for its creation be spent on the NYPD instead.
Many of the luxury shops close to where the mural is planned to be painted already had barricades set up and cops were seen on Thursday morning guarding the entrance to Trump Tower.
‘It has been postponed due to scheduling change,’ a city spokesperson told the New York Post. ‘We’ll be sending out more details in the coming days on a new date.’
The Black Lives Matter mural was scheduled to begin painting on Thursday but was postponed without explanation. It is due to be located by these stores
Cops were seen guarding Trump Tower close to where the mural was scheduled to begin painting on Thursday morning before it was rescheduled until next week
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio called the president’s response the ‘definition of racism’
The mural will be located next to luxury stores such as Tiffany & Co
The painting had been originally scheduled to begin at 11am on Thursday. Instead the only public event the mayor had scheduled was a 10am press briefing in City Hall further downtown.
The high-end stores such as Gucci, Abercombie & Fitch, Bvlgari, Prada, Piaget and Tiffany located close to where the mural will be have not commented on the painting or its postponement.
Some of those attending only found out it had been rescheduled last minute .
‘I do not know,’ activist Michael Tucker told the Post. He only received word the painting wasn’t going ahead as planned on Thursday morning.
‘I’m trying to figure that out myself,’ he added.
The Fifth Avenue Association was also only informed of the change on Wednesday night.
‘The city alerted us late last night it would not be moving forward the mural today. We have no additional details at this time,’ President Jerome Barth said.
The Black Lives Matter mural was first announced last week to emulate those in other cities by painting the letters on a prominent roadway, in this case, beside a former home of President Trump.
It is believed it will take one hundred gallons of paint to create and will close off traffic by Trump Tower for a number of days once painting begins.
De Blasio appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday to provide an update on the mural’s creation, nearly a week after he first unveiled plans for the words to be painted down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
‘Whenever Trump comes back to his old state (New York), he’ll get a message that he still doesn’t understand. Maybe seeing outside his doorstep will help him get the point,’ de Blasio grinned.
Trump didn’t take kindly to de Blasio’s taunt, taking to Twitter to lash out at the mayor, who had overnight slashed the NYPD budget by more than $1 billion.
Trump didn’t take kindly to de Blasio’s taunt, taking to Twitter to lash out at the mayor, who overnight slashed the NYPD budget by more than $1 billion
‘NYC is cutting Police $ by ONE BILLION DOLLARS, and yet the @NYCMayor is going to paint a big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue,’ the President blasted.
‘This will further antagonize New York’s Finest, who LOVE New York & vividly remember the horrible BLM chant, ‘Pigs In A Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon’. Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!’
De Blasio responded directly to Trump’s tweet, calling it the ‘definition of racism’.
‘Here’s what you don’t understand: Black people BUILT 5th Ave and so much of this nation,’ de Blasio wrote.
‘Your “luxury” came from THEIR labor, for which they have never been justly compensated. We are honoring them. The fact that you see it as denigrating your street is the definition of racism.
The mayor responded directly to Trump tell him ‘you don’t understand’
‘You also don’t know that NY’s Finest are now a majority people of color. They already know Black Lives Matter,’ he continued in a second tweet.
‘There is no “symbol of hate” here. Just a commitment to truth. Only in your mind could an affirmation of people’s value be a scary thing.’
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also weighed in, according to NBC New York, supporting the mural in general but criticizing de Blasio for NYPD budget cuts amid a recent spike in violence in the Big Apple. He claimed the goal was to just to appease protesters with budget cuts but to have reform of the police department.
‘Now it’s about making the actual change. Not just saying to the protesters, “I’m with you”,’ Cuomo said.
De Blasio’s NYPD budget cut will cancel the recruitment of 1,163 new officers, strip $484million from the overtime budget and transfer $354million to other services.
The contentious budget passed the City Council with 32 votes in favor and an unusually large 17 votes against just ahead of the midnight deadline following hours of delays.
The area around Trump Tower surrounded with barricades on Thursday morning
High-end stores such as Gucci, Abercombie & Fitch, Bvlgari, Prada, Piaget and Tiffany located close to where the mural will be have not commented on the painting or its postponement
Barriers were already set up along Fifth Avenue when the postponement was revealed
Meanwhile, last week President Trump claimed the NYPD were ‘furious’ about the proposal to paint a ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural in Manhattan as they faced hefty budget cuts.
After plans for the mural were first unveiled, Julia Arredondo, a spokeswoman for de Blasio, attacked Trump in a statement, saying: ‘The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City.
‘He can’t run or deny the reality we are facing, and any time he wants to set foot in the place he claims is his hometown, he should be reminded Black Lives Matter.’
New York is following in the footsteps of Washington D.C., which had the street leading to the White House painted with a ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural on June 5.
According to city officials, similar murals are planned for across New York in the coming days including one in Harlem on Adam Clayton Powell and 125th Street and another in Lower Manhattan on Center Street between Worth and Reade streets.