NEW YORK – A day after the director of operations for the Republican National Convention (search) said the area around Madison Square Garden might be locked down, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (search) asserted Wednesday that he was in charge and assured the city that disruptions would be minimal.
"The NYPD will carry out the instructions that I gave them and that's to make this a safe convention with as minimal disruptions as possible to the public," said Bloomberg. "This is goin held at Madison Square Garden (search) from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2. The security plan, being drafted jointly by the Police Department, the Secret Service and other federal agencies, has not been finalized.
On Tuesday, Mike Miller, director of operations for the GOP convention, told reporters that the Secret Service (search) and the Police Department planned to sweep the area and lock it down as early as three days before the start of the convention.
Miller said that Seventh and Eighth avenues around Madison Square Garden were likely to be closed at times and that the boundary "won't be measured in terms of feet or yards, probably in blocks."
Bloomberg on Wednesday bristled at Miller's remarks, saying, "Mr. Miller was speaking without knowledge."
"What words in 'the Police Department will make any announcements and it's their responsibility' did I not make clear?" said Bloomberg. "The Police Department is the one that is deciding how we go about ensuring safety, as well as minimizing the impact. Nobody else. And anybody else, it's pure conjecture on their part and they're speaking without knowledge."
Bill Harris (search), chief executive officer of the GOP convention, downplayed any tension on Wednesday between the city and convention officials.
"I have absolute confidence that the NYPD, the Secret Service and other agencies involved are going to have a great plan in place and implement that plan in order for us to have a safe and orderly convention and have the minimum disruptions of people in New York," said Harris.
Harris added: "There is absolutely no friction between the city of New York, the Police Department, or convention officials."
Also Wednesday, Bloomberg said the city will replace the traditional convention welcoming parties with a night on Broadway. The night before the convention begins, 13,373 delegates and their guests will attend one of eight Broadway (search) performances, including '42nd Street,' 'Aida' and 'Bombay Dreams.'