The yellow tape is from the police - demanding that people "do not cross." It is used at crime scenes, and in situations like this, where there are also lots of signs indicating "Wet Paint."
New Yorkers always disobey this kind of sign. If a crane is hoisting a grand piano into an apartment on the 20th floor through the window, and the moving company hires someone to instruct passers-by to cross the street to avoid possible injury - New Yorkers will always ignore the warning and keep on walking, instructions and risks be damned.
New Yorkers: Fearless? No. Stupid? No.
But we are unwilling to give into life's little annoyances.