Thread: End of the NYPD Sawhorses
06-29-2007, 09:34 AM #1
End of the NYPD Sawhorses
Barriers Held Against Beatlemania, but Not March of Progress
By AL BAKER
They were there when the Beatles came to America, keeping screaming teenage girls from spilling into the street, and when the astronauts of Apollo 11 got a ticker-tape parade up Broadway. Same thing at the Yankees’ championship parades; they kept crowds to the side as the heroes glided by.
Heavy police sawhorses of rough wood with a stenciled warning — “Police Line Do Not Cross” — have been a visible staple of New York’s landscape for decades, even appearing in “Spider-Man 3.”
But now they are being demoted.
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said that wooden sawhorses were being phased out. The last ones owned by the New York Police Department, made by inmates in upstate prisons, are being relegated to dull duty at street fairs and other low-impact events.
The glory, the front-row seats to history, will go to the interlocking gray aluminum partitions that the police call “French barriers.”
It’s like a first-grade detective in Midtown Manhattan being busted to overnight patrolman on the outskirts of Staten Island.
From a few hundred French barriers bought in the early 1990s, there are now about 12,000 (seven feet long and $70 each). Just 3,200 veteran wooden sawhorses (14 feet long and $60 each) remain. Other cities like Chicago and Philadelphia also use both types.
French barriers, as the name suggests, were invented in France, and are common in Europe, where they are ideal for the generally smaller streets. They appear in the 1973 film “The Day of the Jackal,” about an assassination attempt on President Charles de Gaulle. They are manufactured in Louisiana, that state’s former status as a French colony an apparent coincidence.
“If you grew up in the city, at major events, those blue barriers were always a part of them,” said Mr. Kelly, who set up sawhorses as a patrolman. “It is one of those things that people just take for granted. Yellow cabs. Cabs are yellow. You go to other cities, they’re not yellow.”
The sawhorses act as more of a sign than a true barrier; it is, after all, easy to scoot beneath them.
French barriers, on the other hand, are hard to breach because they can be locked together. “They’re easier to move, ” Mr. Kelly said. “They’re lighter. They’re smaller.”
I think it would be cool to have one of the old ones for the garage.
06-29-2007, 08:35 PM #2
Ah yes, sign of the times.
It would be cool to have one.
F*ck the French!Jason Knecht
Township Fire Dept., Inc.
Eau Claire, WI
IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!
06-30-2007, 05:09 AM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
Since they are made here in LA, maybe we should call em "Tiger Barriers".
And since football season is fast approaching ... "Go Tigers" !!!!
And may Nick Saben and Alabama suffer a long, losing season.
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