De Blasio Could Open the Times Square Pedestrian Plaza to Cars

Exotic street performers in the plaza have caused Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconsider his initial opposition to street plazas. Unlike his police commissioner and the governor, de Blasio has yet to make a decision on the removal of Times Square plaza.
August 21, 2015, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Following through with a statements he made as a mayoral candidate in 2013 that he would consider opening Times Square and Herald Square to auto traffic, "Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday that he would consider removing the pedestrian plazas from Times Square in a bid to restore order in the crowded streets of the Manhattan crossroads," writes Michael M. Grynbaum for The New York Times.

The move, which the mayor described as one of several options to be considered by a task force of New York City officials, would undo a signature accomplishment of Mr. de Blasio’s predecessor, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose decision to close part of Times Square to vehicular traffic has been hailed as an influential innovation in urban design.

Are topless women to blame?

"Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday (Aug 18) that he sees the women (called Desnudas - video) parading around Times Square covered in little but body paint not as creative artists, but as pushy panhandlers whose efforts to separate tourists from their money should be regulated," writes Patrick McGeehan. 

De Blasio "announced a task force to consider ideas on how to better prevent activities that the city deems illegal or harmful to the area’s quality of life," writes Grynbaum. His police commissioner, William J. Bratton, who will co-chair the task force, was ready "to just dig the whole damn thing up and put it back the way it was,” he said in a radio interview.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has often been at odds with the mayor, has already come out for the removal of the plazas.

Grynbaum goes on to write about the reaction to their possible removal in social media.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, August 20, 2015 in The New York Times N.Y. / Region
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