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Whose Bright Idea Is This: Festival Shuts Street Just Blocks From UN During General Assembly

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Traffic during the United Nations General Assembly is already a nightmare.

Drivers are saying the city has only made it worse, allowing a street festival to be held just a few blocks idea.

RELATED: How To Get Around During UN General Assembly

So whose bright idea was this? CBS2's Marc Liverman tried to find out.

"Oh we're having a wonderful time! Having a blast! The street food over here is off the cheesy!" said Long Island City residents Stacey and April Haynes.

Street Festival
Street festival on 40th Street between Lexington Avenue and Third Street. (credit: CBS2)

What's fun at the festival is not so much fun for drivers and passengers trying to get by. Right in the middle of all the street closures and detours for the UN General Assembly, 40th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue was completely shut down for a weekday street festival.

"It doesn't belong here, especially at this time," said Manhattan resident Teresa Greshaw.

A few dozen vendors were clogging up traffic while the UN clogs it up even more just two avenues away.

"I think that's terrible planning but that's our mayor," said John DeVito of Ozone Park. "I've been up the block for 15 minutes already and it should take me five minutes to get all the way down to the east side."

Commercial driver Kendell Goodwin told CBS2's Marc Liverman he had a plan to take 40th all the way to Second Avenue, but that plan was a bust, adding close to 20 minutes to his drive.

"Now we have this festival, we can't catch a break. As commercial drivers, we're just trying to do our deliveries, do our job, but it seems like we can't even do that," Goodwin said.

Another big question on these drivers minds: Why hold on the festival on a weekday during the UN gathering?

"It can be Sunday, when nobody's working," a woman told Liverman.

He took the drivers concerns to the city's Office of Event Coordination to ask whose bright idea it was to allow a street festival on one of the most congested traffic weeks of the year.

The mayor's office didn't respond to his email, neither did the Department of Transportation.

The last of the city's Gridlock Alert Days related to the UN General Assembly is Monday.

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