Mayor de Blasio said last week that he would consider getting rid of Times Square’s pedestrian plazas, and people are pissed. The comment was made in response to the controversy surrounding the area’s partially nude “Painted Ladies” and other street performers, who some feel are a public nuisance. The mayor and other city officials believe that removing the pedestrian zone could be one solution to ‘restoring order’ to the streets of NYC, but many New Yorkers oppose the idea strongly.
The proposal to eliminate the pedestrian plazas is just one suggestion on the table. City Hall announced Thursday that a task force will evaluate options for limiting activities that might be illegal or otherwise harmful to the public. One of the more prominent examples of these practices is the influx of “desnudas,” topless women wearing just body paint and underwear, who approach pedestrians demanding tips.
If the pedestrian plazas, which were created six years ago during the Bloomberg administration, are removed, the most likely course would be for those portions of the street to be restored for vehicle traffic, effectively sending Times Square back in time. That would be fine with Police Commissioner William J. Bratton who said in an interview with 1010 WINS radio that he would “prefer to just dig the whole damn thing up and put it back the way it was.”
The mayor admitted that removing the plazas would be a big job. “That’s a very big endeavor, and like every other option comes with pros and cons,” he said. “So we’re going to look at what those pros and cons would be. You could argue that those plazas have had some very positive impacts. You could also argue they come with a lot of problems.”
He is expecting the task force, which has representatives from a number of city agencies, to provide a list of “tangible actions” and enforcement options by October 1.
Via New York Times