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What should Mayor de Blasio do with Times Square?

Under the Bloomberg administration, public space in New York went through a dramatic transformation. A transformation that I believe was for the better. Here’s a quick video showcasing the changes:

But now Times Square is filled with topless women in body paint (as well as other characters) looking to get paid for a photo with them. Here’s what that looks like (photo source):

And this is making some people very grouchy (including the current mayor, Bill de Blasio). Though to me it doesn’t feel all that different than the Naked Cowboy, who has long been a fixture in Times Square.

In any event, Mayor de Blasio is now floating the idea of reversing one of Bloomberg’s biggest legacies and removing the pedestrian plazas in Times Square. Not surprisingly, lots of people, including myself, think this is a terrible idea. Here’s a snippet from NY Magazine:

I understand that the mayor doesn’t care for the carnival atmosphere at Times Square — neither do I. But eradicating a pedestrian plaza because you don’t like who’s walking there is like blasting away a beach because you object to bikinis or paving a park because you hate squirrels. It represents such a profound misunderstanding of public space that it makes me question the mayor’s perception of what counts as progressive.

Well said. 

But what are your thoughts? Out of the following 3 options, which do you think the mayor should go with?

  1. Remove the pedestrian plazas.
  2. Find an alternate solution to curb “undesirable” behaviour in Times Square.
  3. Do nothing and maintain the status quo.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

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