Welcome to Times Square. Please Have a Seat.

From Summer 2009

This morning the crews put out lawn chairs for visitors to Times Square to sit back and enjoy themselves for this Memorial Day. On one block were these colorful chairs, the kind most associate with the backyard picnic, and on another were lounge chairs, the kind you adjust to lie back, catch some sunshine and look up at the sky. Normally I avoid this pocket of urban insanity, but beginning with this weekend, the famous sections of Broadway through Times Square and another from Herald Square to Duffy Square have been turned into a pedestrian mall. Today at any rate, the street became the city's big neighborhood block party. As I have been writing for nearly two years about the pleasures of seeing the city on foot, I looked forward to this day. It was a great morning, clear skies and perfect temperature, to walk the two miles from Greenwich Village up to Times Square, and it was great, once there, to find so many places to finally sit down and rest.

Read more about the street closure in the article from the New York Times,"No Vehicles, but Plenty of People on Broadway."

Image of Times Square, May 25, 2009, by Walking Off the Big Apple. More on Flickr WOTBA. See an earlier entry on Times Square from April 2008.


Terry B said...

Even as a visitor, I tend to avoid Times Square--mostly because of fellow tourists. But this sounds like it would actually be fun to see and be part of.

Anonymous said...

I was there ! We sat in a couple of chairs for a half-hour before we headed back to JFK for the flight back to the UK. It was good to have somewhere to sit and just people watch. Only downside was that we were constantly asked what we were doing. "Just sitting" didn't seem to be an accepted answer :o)

Dan said...

This is cool. And the opposite of what happened here in Opposite Land today.

In Buenos Aires, traffic was all a'snarl due to a protest march / strike by (a) school teachers and (b) an organized group of unemployed people. The hotel at which I am staying is on Corrientes, the Times Square of BA. (Am told, by the way, Mr. Times, that Buenos Aires has 7 daily newspaper in publication at the moment.) So while there were no lawn chairs on Corrientes, there could have been and no one would have down anything about it.

Last thought: The traffic jam forced us to take the Subte to el Museo. It's quite a bit like the NYC subway system, but better appointed. There is an internal TV network with programming specifically to update Subte travelers on what's going on with the trains. Monitors mounted throughout the platforms. Plus discernible announcements over the public address system.

The city has so many sophisticated and advanced features, yet so many problems of those countries we used to call 'Third World.' There are gated communities and shantytowns in close proximity to each other.

I will be happy to return to Neuva York this weekend. But glad to have been in Opposite Land a while.