Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio created a task force to investigate the possibility of axing the pedestrian plazas in Times Square as a way to deal with the presence of menacing street performers, panhandlers, costumed characters, and topless ladies. Now, the so-called Times Square Task Force is saying that removing the pedestrian plazas is probably not the answer. The only problem is that they still aren’t sure what is.
Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, the task force is contemplating the creation of a special police unit to deal with some of the misbehavior happening in a place that was designed for relaxation and innocent people-watching. The task force is comprised of dozens of officials, including community leaders who have been unhappy with the illegal antics for a long time. Despite the complaints, the group agreed that keeping the pedestrian plazas would be ideal. That’s pretty good news, considering that some of the plazas aren’t even complete yet. “The city is moving forward with completion of the plazas, not removal of the plazas,” said City Councilman Corey Johnson, who represents part of Times Square.
One possible approach to the public nuisance issues is the proposed creation of “activity zones” in certain parts of Times Square, where topless ladies and costumed characters would be permitted to do their thing. Outside of those areas, performers would not be allowed to ask pedestrians for cash, theoretically maintaining much of the peaceful and pester-free nature of the plazas.
The task force has less than two weeks to come to agreement on a proposal in order to meet the mayor’s October 1 deadline.
Via NY Daily News