Nature Creeps Into Trafficless Times Square

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Photo: AP

Yesterday was the first day traffic was shut down in parts of Times Square under Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan's plan, and, as grass and weeds grow on the lot where a building has been knocked down, nature (of the New York City variety) immediately crept in to the fill the space vacated by honking automobiles. "They're sitting out here like they've been coming here every Memorial Day for the last 50 years," Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, marveled of the hundreds of locals and tourists who showed up to sit in beach chairs, soak up the rays of the sun, and marinate in the smell of nearby fast-food chains. "It's so wonderful," one tourist told Newsday. Even Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff was impressed — though, he noted, "this is not the Piazza San Marco in Venice or even Trafalgar Square in London," and some of the spaces are awkward and perhaps need to be rethought. Cab drivers are also skeptical of how this will play out, especially on a weekday like today. But if the chicken you see above is any indication, the Bloomberg administration's vision of a greener city seems to be working. Next, coyotes and crickets.

Lose the Traffic. Keep That Times Square Grit. [NYT]
Pedestrians enjoy first day of car-free stretches of Broadway at Times Square, Herald Square [NYDN]
Related: Honk, Honk, Aaah [NYM]