Posted on March 04, 2010
So we recently reported, fearless readers, on the fact that the pedestrian plaza in New York’s Broadway area is going to stay a pedestrian plaza for the foreseeable future, as per Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement last month. Reaction to the plaza has been mixed—drivers, especially cab drivers, loathe it for the traffic snarls it offers--but many tourists like it and gravitate to the area. In addition, store and restaurant owners in the area are pleased with the extra income derived from curious passersby who stop to shop, eat, and spill over into the areas with tables on nice days. The area is a huge draw with its plethora of theaters and restaurants, huge splashy shops, ranging from the M&M store to Sephora to Toys R US, and its larger-than-life ads and billboards. One thing pretty much everyone agrees on, however, was that the dingy metal lawn chairs and café tables were an eyesore. Now, however, the city is launching a design competition (for people who live or work in New York) to redesign the squares in light of the permanent installation in 2010. The competition covers the five pedestrian plazas that stretch from 42nd to 47th Streets along Broadway. Designs are due by April 16, and the winner receives $15,000. Applications are available at wnyc.org. If you’d like to share your ideas with the public at large, you can post them on WNYC's flickr page. Whether you love or hate the plaza, at least you won’t have to look at the lawn chairs forever.