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As United Nations General Assembly returns to Manhattan, so does "nightmare" gridlock

United Nations General Assembly brings gridlock back to Manhattan
United Nations General Assembly brings gridlock back to Manhattan 02:36

NEW YORK -- Wednesday was a Gridlock Alert Day, for real, back in full after the pandemic.

That's because the United Nations General Assembly is underway. Adding to congestion, President Joe Biden is in New York City, which means extra security.

"So crazy. I'm so tired of going around and around and don't find my away out," driver Carlos said.

Professional drivers CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis spoke with say it's been a bad week for business.

"I'm a driver, and I'm going home because I don't want to be in this crazy traffic," Carlos said.

"Traffic is a nightmare. Nobody can move," a cab driver said.

Gridlock Alert Days mean delays, road closures and temporary frozen zones.

GRIDLOCK ALERT DAYS: New York City Department of Transportation announces when to expect the worst traffic across the city

Police say the area most affected this week is 42nd Street to 57th Street and First Avenue to Fifth Avenue.

That's where Uniondale resident Celly Melendez had to drive Wednesday.

"Took us two hours to come from Nassau County to 53rd Street and Madison," he said.

It's not just drivers impacted. DeAngelis noticed the clash between cyclists and pedestrians, too.

"I had to walk around several times, like I couldn't get through on the street because it was closed," visitor Anastasiia Perevozova said.

Department of Transportation traffic data shows the average vehicle speeds in Midtown are usually between 6-7 mph. This week, they're less than 5 mph, the slowest of the year.

UNGA STREET CLOSURES: Expect delays and detours in Manhattan due to United Nations General Assembly

But Gov. Kathy Hochul says the traffic is a sign we've rebounded from the pandemic.

"If anybody doubts that we're fully supercharged, try to drive across Midtown. And it feels good," Hochul said.

Traffic expert "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz says you'll see traffic into the evening as President Biden travels to events around the city.

"When the president moves, he arrives in a 35-car motorcade, and when that motorcade is moving ... every street, every avenue freezes ... Not just the cars have to stop. Bike riders have to stop. Even pedestrians can't cross the street," Schwartz said. "There's no escaping presidential gridlock."

As Gridlock Sam put it, "It ain't over until it's over."

Thursday and Friday are also considered Gridlock Alert Days. Your best bet to avoid this is to take mass transit.

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