Amy Harrett says she is a Whitney Houston fan, but she won't line up on East Broad Street to watch the pop icon's funeral procession turn into Westfield's Fairview Cemetery.
"It's going to be a madhouse," said Harrett, who lives close to the cemetery. "There is going to be a ton of people here — the media, fans, everyone. I don't want to say it's an inconvenience, but I know I won't be able to get anything done if I stay here."
Harrett says that after policemen knocked on her door yesterday to tell her that her street would be closed to accommodate Houston's burial, she called her mother to plan a visit. She's leaving tonight and will spend Sunday at her mother's house in Queens.
"I don't want to be trapped here because of her funeral," she said.
Mayor Andy Skibitsky confirmed the funeral is set for late Sunday morning, but he said he did not know the exact time. Houston's funeral, held this afternoon at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, drew her mother, Cissy, her daughter, Bobbi Christina, her cousin, Dionne Warwick. The star-studded crowd of 1,500 included Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Governor Chris Christie, Oprah Winfrey, Clive Davis and Jennifer Hudson. The ceremony featured eulogies from Kevin Costner, Tyler Perry, a song from Stevie Wonder
Westfield Police Lt. John Ricerca said if they receive confirmation from the family, the entire length of Gallows Hill Road would be closed to northbound traffic starting at 6 a.m. Sunday to be used as a media staging area.
"We are trying to accommodate the family's needs and the needs of residents as well," Ricerca said just before 1 p.m. Friday. "However, nothing has been confirmed by the family right now."
Harrett's neighbor's James McCreary, said he think it's a honor that Houston will be buried in the cemetery, but expects the same media circus as Harrett.
He said he doesn't understand why the crowds are forming since the family has indicated it is a private ceremony.
"It's not like they are going to let fans into the burial," he said. "They should respect the family and respect the town and stay home. They can come pay their respects later."