Friday's presidential visit will exacerbate already bad situation

With Trump Coming To Town, Expect Traffic Snarl




Though President Donald Trump has altered or canceled most of his travel plans for the week in the wake of two mass shootings, be forewarned that his Hamptons fundraising trip on Friday, August 9 is still very much a go. That means the real danger of snarled traffic — even beyond the usual crawl — is inevitable, at least from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. There will also be temporary flight restrictions in and around Gabreski Airport (Westhampton) as well if, as expected, the president arrives and departs from there.

If Trump’s visit to Southampton Village last year is any indication, the president will fly into Gabreski Airport via Air Force One. This year’s itinerary calls for a motorcade to the Bridgehampton home of Joe Farrell, dubbed Sandcastle, the builder’s showcase $50-million mansion.

Trump, should he choose to let his proverbial hair down, can relax at the in-house bowling alley, movie theater, planetarium, rock-climbing wall, skateboarding pipe, or even the regulation baseball field. There are also squash, racquetball, basketball, and volleyball courts.

Chances are, though, the President will concentrate on fundraising at the 612 Halsey Lane mansion, which once rented for $475,000 — for two weeks. Guests are expected to arrive around noon.

The event is meant to raise money for the Trump Victory Committee, and will be hosted by Representative Lee Zeldin, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Donald Trump Jr. and his companion Kimberly Guilfoyle — the couple recently bought a $5-million spread nearby — and several other GOP dignitaries.

Tickets to the event start at $2800 for the reception. Photo shoots with the Prez are in the $250,000 neighborhood.

Trump and his entourage will then drive to the Southampton home of Stephen and Kara Ross for a sit-down lunch. He will depart within two hours of his arrival there, according to published reports.

Southampton police noted that last year, portions of roads that intersected the president’s route were closed until the motorcade had passed. The same inconvenience is expected this time around.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction at Gabreski Airport for between 10:30 to 11:45 AM for Friday. President Trump is scheduled to depart between 3:15 to 4:15 PM.

John Cox, a retired airline captain with U.S. Airways who runs his own aviation safety consulting company, Safety Operating Systems, pointed out although FAA air traffic controllers handle all traffic while it is en route across the United States, “Air Force One is handled differently than other traffic using more discreet frequencies to communicate with controllers.”

Ross owns the Miami Dolphins and is a real estate developer. His wife Kara Ross, a jewelry designer, backs Equinox Fitness Clubs, Equinox Hotels, and SoulCycle. The couple is co-hosting the Trump extravaganza; according to published reports attendees will pay $100,000 for a photo op or $250,000 to hear a roundtable discussion.

A spokesperson for Equinox and SoulCycle issued the following statement to The Advocate, following backlash from gym members: “Neither Equinox nor SoulCycle have anything to do with the event later this week and do not support it. We believe in tolerance and equality, and will always stay true to those values. Mr. Ross is a passive investor and is not involved in the management of either business.”

rmurphy@indyeastend.com