They feared the worst and braced for it — but the worst never came.
Most store owners in Manhattan and Brooklyn who put up plywood to protect windows from damage during potential post-election protests kept the barriers in place even as the city calmed down following Joe Biden’s victory in last week’s presidential race over President Trump.
Instead of unrest and vandalism, most of the city celebrated Biden’s apparent victory over Trump, with many dancing in the streets and popping bottles of champagne.
However, some store owners who spoke with amNewYork Metro on Monday, most whom would not go on record, say they are cautiously optimistic about the city remaining calm, but took a wait and see approach — especially as Trump continues to refuse conceding the election.
In Union Square, where many stores had been attacked during protests in the spring and summer, some stores that boarded up, remained that way. On 17th Street and Fifth Avenue, workers were removing boards from Bonobos.
“Yes, we are taking it down, but hey, we may be back here putting it up again next week,” said one supervisor. “You just never know — maybe Trump will cause some issues, and we will be back again.”
Stores along Fifth Avenue were mostly still boarded up, most store owners didn’t want to even talk about it.
“I don’t want to jinx it,” said one store manager who said he couldn’t be quoted. “The owners are still afraid and don’t want the store wrecked. I hope it just stays quiet so we can get back to normal.”
Saks Fifth Avenue was still boarded up from one end of the store to the other on Fifth Avenue and 5oth Street. The store had some of the highest security at the height of the protests with numerous security guards and guard dogs. A lone security guard stood outside the venerable retailer.
“I hope they will take the boards down soon – I can’t wait for them to decorate for Christmas,” said Julie Anderson, a shopper who had just come out of the store. “I think things will get better, the boards make it look like we are still under siege.”
The NYPD has vowed to protect commercial properties from further vandalism and looting – officers were more aggressive last week protecting stores during marches with only a few acts of vandalism. Scores were arrested last week for vandalism and other offenses, with some activists saying the department had acted overly aggressive.
In some cases, non-credentialed photographers acting as media were also swept up by cops and charged with misdemeanors and given desk appearance tickets – credentialed media were allowed to do their jobs.