Besides the practical inconveniences, some residents dislike the emptiness of the street. Park Row today has an abandoned air, with a rust-streaked median and thistles creeping out of cracks in the asphalt.
"It feels like a war zone," Ost said.
There are some residents who like the tight security. Elaine Nachanis, 76, has lived on the street for 48 years and says she feels safer.
"As long as there's the word 'terrorism' in the dictionary, we need it," she said.
But Ost says the police brought the security risks along with them when they set up headquarters in the neighborhood, about a mile south of their old home in Little Italy.
"We thought we could coexist with the police department, but they're making it difficult," he said.
Residents say they are angry that their neighborhood is being sacrificed for a greater security cause.
"If this were Park Avenue, not Park Row, this wouldn't have happened," said Chen, referring to the more prestigious Manhattan address.
Chen says despite the inconveniences, he isn't considering moving.
"My parents moved into Chatham Green in 1963," he said. "I got my own place here in '95. I'm just trying to defend home."
(This version corrects that politicians' letter was sent last month.)