Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Yes, yes and yes

Susan Dominus on the mallification of Times Square in the Times today:

But right now, the pedestrian mall, it must be said, looks a little unworthy of New York.


Or maybe the problem is not the quality of the seats. Maybe the problem is all the people sitting in them. New York is a city of walkers, not sitters; a city of motion, not repose.


Sitting beside Ms. Mia, I was starting to rethink my impression of the pedestrian mall, appreciating some of its merits, messy though they may be. But only for a minute.

“I just really like it here,” she said. “I find it strangely peaceful.”

We’ve come to accept the multitudes of adjectives that rotate in and out of use for Times Square depending on the era: gritty, dangerous, commercial, touristy, kitschy, overpriced, overcrowded, flashy, tacky, corporate. But peaceful?

That’s just wrong.


prodigal son said...

I'm told that technically, closing off that section of Broadway and channelling cars down 7th Avenue actually improves the flow of traffic, because the Broadway - 7th Avenue -42nd Street intersection is so awkward. I have no idea this is the case.

But you can do that without the lawn chairs.

Are we turning into 18th century Venice? The main city industries are now real estate, tourism, and borrowing lots of money and getting other people to pay it back. People now come here to be here, not to do something. But I think New York is too large and crowded to do a good imiation of a tourist city living off the history of when it mattered.

In a sense, this doesn't change Times Square much people the foot traffic there has been so slow in recent years you might as well be sitting down in a lounge chair. All these people just strolling around around are infuriating for those of us who actually have places we have to get to.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, in a practical sense I have found that that area is much easier to walk through than it used to be.