Downtown Brooklyn stores board up amid fears of 2020 election protests

Workers board up a Kids Foot Locker on the Fulton Mall on Nov. 2.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

Several stores in and around Downtown Brooklyn boarded up their windows Monday, one day ahead of this year’s presidential election.

About half a dozen stores along the outdoor retail strip between Flatbush Avenue and Jay Street had their windows covered in sheets of wood, and one contractor said his company was covering up shoe stores that were hit during previous protests this summer.

“We’re boarding them up because they’re worried about the civil unrest that will follow the election,” said Peter, a worker with the locksmith firm I Lock New York, who was boarding up a Kids Foot Locker between Hoyt Street and Elm Place. “They were hit really hard with the protest, the looting.”

The Macy’s department store a block away had all of its large storefronts windows filled in with black-painted wood sheets, while a small Verizon outpost across the street was completely covered in timber.

Macy’s department store in the Fulton Mall with blacked out wooden sheets covering its windows.Photo by Kevin Duggan

One manager of a smaller clothing and jewelry shop across the street said that police had advised him a few weeks ago to take extra precautions around the election and protests and he said it made sense that other businesses weren’t taking any chances.

“They have to be safe and they have to do the best they can,” said Ali Abbas, who manages Fulton Island between Bridge and Lawrence streets.

He added that he would not board up his shopfront because it was well enough protected with metal shutters after closing time.

Over on Atlantic Avenue — the site of chaotic clashes between protesters and police just last week — PM Pediatrics set up the wooden protections with a note attached near the entrance that read, “Excuse the appearance. We are open.”

Crafts store Michaels and health and beauty boutique Face Values near Boerum Place also covered their street frontage in protective plywood.

PM Pediatrics all boarded up at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Boerum Place.Photo by Rose Adams

Cops collared some 30 protesters in the area on the night of Oct. 27 who were out demonstrating against the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia.

Some of the protesters vandalized police vehicles and smashed windows of businesses, including banks, chain stores, a nail salon, and beloved gourmet grocer Sahadi’s, Bklyner reported.

Business owners in commercial areas on the distant isle of Manhattan have been boarding up left, right, and center over the weekend, following warnings by police of potential unrest around the election, the Post reported.

The Police Department did not reply to a request for comment seeking confirmation of those advisories to businesses. 

Well-heeled residents in the Big Apple have apparently also hired armed guards, including off duty cops, to beef up security around their luxury homes, that paper reported.

Additional reporting by Rose Adams