The car-free zones and pedestrian plazas are being rented out to corporate sponsors for marketing efforts. Though the move is bringing in money for the city, some say it is an inappropriate use of public space.
"All or any of them can be rented by private companies, which could pay substantial fees - the highest is $38,500 a day. So far, the city said, 10 permits have been granted for the plazas in Midtown, with one - for a VH1 special in Herald Square - bringing in $20,250. Roughly 18 others have been granted for other pedestrian malls around the city, including the plaza at 23rd Street and Broadway.
It was there last week that Glidden Paint paid $11,000 a day to promote its products. That plaza, which opened in 2008, is visually identical to the Midtown plazas. Glidden's fee, officials said, was high because it was part of a previous schedule that has since been adjusted. The company will pay, in all, $66,000 to set up at several locations around the city."