All-Star traffic headaches during Midtown parade in heat wave

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NEW YORK (PIX11) –  The red carpet taking up two traffic lanes on East 42nd Street almost looked like it was baking in the sun, and while the parade of Major League All-Stars was a thrill to thousands of New Yorkers, it made life tough for thousands of others, trying to conduct their daily business.

“You want me to tell you it’s a real pain in the a–,” fumed tech salesman, Ben Schoolsky, who told PIX it took him forty minutes to walk across town.  “We couldn’t get a cab, the Citibikes didn’t work for us, so we’re hot and bothered.”

The parade of star players from the National and American leagues started at 1 pm, and the side streets near 42nd—between Sixth and Second Avenues—were paying for it with major traffic  back-ups.

A local Starbucks manager wondered why the parade was happening in midtown.

“Why couldn’t Queens get it?” asked Anigah Christie.  “Why is it in Manhattan?  Is the ‘All Star’ game in Manhattan?”

The heat index Tuesday was over 100 degrees, so delivery persons who were forced to park blocks away from their destinations had to walk many extra minutes—sometimes with heavy boxes—to get to their locations.  We met Kareem Casiano, who delivers wine for LS Delivery Service, parked on Lexington Avenue and 43rd Street.

“I’m behind a lot,” Casiano told PIX.  “About an hour and a half.”

We followed Casiano as he hauled a case of wine nearly three blocks to Pietro Ristorante, located on 43rd Street near Second Avenue.   When he put the case of wine down, he was relieved to get a break inside the air-conditioned restaurant.

Security guards in crisp suits, wearing earpieces, seemed to be staying cool outside the Westin Hotel, where many of the Major League players and their families were staying on 42nd Street, off Third Avenue.  A yellow box truck was ordered to back out of the hotel driveway.  41st Street, between Second and Third Avenues, was off-limits for most parking, to give spots to the Academy buses that were transporting the players to various locations.  The access road from the Queens Midtown Tunnel was also blocked, starting near 39th Street.

Bus driver, Benny Sierra—who was navigating his M 102 north on Third Avenue—seemed to be taking the traffic in stride.   When we asked him if the 94 degree heat was worse than the traffic, he quipped, “That’s for sure.”  Freddie Freeman, an all-star player with the Atlanta Braves, seemed to agree, when we called out to him during the parade.  How do you like the heat, Freddie? PIX asked.

“It’s hot,” he responded, “it’s hot!”