NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets is closed following the painting of a Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower on Thursday.
The much-anticipated mural was postponed by a week, but is now complete.
Mayor Bill de Blasio participated in the project. He has said he wanted to send the message that Black Lives Matter to President Donald Trump, and made it very clear by putting this mural right in front of his doorstep.
— NYC Mayor’s Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) July 9, 2020
Big, bold yellow letters formed the words Black Lives Matter, and were painted permanently on Fifth Avenue.
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“I think it’s a beautiful thing. I think it’s time we bring people together. We shouldn’t separate people from color, from religion,” said Edwin Echevarria.
As part of a bigger racial justice movement, matching murals have been popping up in cities across the country, starting in Washington, D.C. Here at home, the mayor vowed that the BLM slogan will appear in every borough in the city.
The unique thing about this one is its location: Right in front of Trump Tower.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
The president — not a fan — tweeted last week that the mural would be a “symbol of hate” and that it would “denigrate this luxury avenue.”
Mayor de Blasio responded to the posts, saying “Black people built Fifth Avenue and so much of this nation. We are honoring them.”
“Trump has his own opinion. He’s a human as well as you and I… and we are all never going to think alike,” said Tarease Bryant.
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“It is a movement. It is a time, and, as Trump always says, it’s time to make America great again, and this is the time to do it,” said Ellen Rapoport.
“Here is very symbolic because if the leader of the free world doesn’t understand that, maybe now being in front of one of his buildings it will start to sink in,” volunteer Rahima Torrence told CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.
Some activists, though not against the murals, have said they are just a distraction from the real changes they’re demanding, like police reforms.
“It’s an important moment, but it’s a very small step in the grand scheme of things. The thing I am proud of is we have some platform now and there’s more attention being brought to it,” said Nelson Mojica.
Hundreds of gallons of paint were used. Expect the area along Fifth Avenue between 57th and 55th streets to remain closed through the weekend, which means buses and traffic are being detoured.