Times Square Gets a ‘Gritty’ Redesign


DNA Info today reports on the “Times Square of the future,” which, in a bit of a pleasant surprise, seems less Disney-esque and more darkness, concrete, and simplicity, at least on the ground, removing old curbs and sidewalks to create a continuous pedestrian walkway. Overall, this is being described as more of the grittiness you used to know and love, minus the fact that the redesign plan from Snohetta, an architecture and landscape company founded in Oslo (they designed the 9/11 Museum), will cost some $27 million. But are pedestrian spaces really that gritty, inherently? Minus the one-winged pigeons gnawing on old Chipotle burritos under a Diet Pepsi billboard?

Regardless of the question of grit, Seth Solomonow, press secretary for the NYC Department of Transportation, told us, “This long-planned redesign will restore the aging utilities below the street, which itself hasn’t been rebuilt in more than 50 years and still has trolley tracks beneath the asphalt. On the surface, this simple, flexible design will clear obstructions and support the growing number of programs occurring in Times Square, which more than 350,000 people visit every day.”

We do like the idea of less obstructions and more room to move, a/k/a, to commute breezily without tourist interruptions and having to confront that guy asking us where we get our hair done. Also, the renderings seem pretty cool, as Times Square goes.

Plazas will be made of dark concrete pavers (also not gritty: pavers) arranged in an alternating brick pattern, with some parts imbedded with stainless steel pucks, for a glint of gritty shininess. Bench seating for large groups is also included in the plan, which was presented to Community Board 5 last night. Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2012, with the scheduled completion for 2014.

Times Square Redesign Plan Unveiled [DNA Info]