Urban Fold

Dramatic Dining on Broadway's New Esplanade

Cafe seating overlooking New York's Broadway traffic is popular in spite of safety concerns.

"The city has provided a new kind of thrill right in the heart of Midtown: an esplanade carved into Broadway where people can sit and relax as cars and trucks whiz by. One alfresco diner stated, 'You hear so many accidents of the cars going out of control and all they have here is plastic pots. We're going to roll the dice and eat lunch here today.' Seth Solomonow, a spokesman for New York City's Transportation Department, assured that the planters weigh 600 or 1,000 pounds and are positioned to prevent vehicles from passing in between them. The design is standard throughout the city.

To create the esplanade, the city used two of the four traffic lanes on Broadway between 42nd and35th Streets. On the eastern portion of Broadway, there are new pedestrian areas, which have a gravel coating glued to the pavement, and a bike lane that runs next to the sidewalk. And the city bought the benches, tables, chairs and planters, which were set out last week. The total project cost was $700,000."

Full Story: Front-Row Seats on Broadway, if You Dare

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