Independence Day Special: The Freedom to Sit


This was the scene at Herald Square yesterday afternoon. It’s full of people doing what the Times’ Susan Dominus finds so un-New York: sitting down. Some of these loafers are actually putting their feet up, right in the heart of our fast-paced, cutthroat city. It’s like they’ve never even seen The Sweet Smell of Success.

Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson sent this photo and some others he snapped while shooting footage of the new Broadway. Before we get to those, a few Independence Day weekend notes.

  • First, a reminder to tell John Liu that you support the Bicycle Access Bill. This is a big one.
  • Second, the Macy’s fireworks are switching rivers this year, so instead of the ultimate car-free event on the FDR, we’ll have a car-free Route 9A and bike-free Hudson River Greenway. Starting at 4:30 on July 4th, the bikeway will be closed from 14th Street to 68th Street. It’s expected to re-open in the wee hours of July 5th, after the cleaning wraps up.

Enjoy the weekend everyone. We’ll see you back here on Monday. On to the pictures from Clarence…

giant_chess.jpgClarence, who is something of a giant chess aficionado, says he’s never seen such a large crowd for a match.

times_square_surface.jpgYou can now see some of the new street surfacing at Times Square.

times_square_stage.jpgA future performance area?

parking_receipt.jpgThis is what the reverse side of a meter receipt looks like now.
  • Something in the shape of that “future performance area?” seems to appear at the north end of every closed-off block in the plans. I suspect that it has something to do with emergency vehicle access, but I don’t know anything for sure.

  • Mike: You know I was starting to think of that too. Actually this new group at the DOT is so clever, I suspect it is a little of everything – a traffic calming/impediment to cars, but it is also just the right size that a band could play on it or a performer could charm a crowd. In addition, I am figuring it is ADA compliant.

    So nice to have smart people in charge.

    On another note: a friend and I walked from TSq to HSq thru Broadway Boulevard and it was just so crowded with people we could not find two chairs near each other to sit down! If this isn’t a slam dunk….

  • I hope those humps aren’t a prelude to something similar to those god-awful barriers (complete with watchtowers) going up on every street in a circle around the stock exchange. I loathe what’s going on down there. I’m sick of the machine-gun toting military types. Meanwhile, the still-lively-despite-everything Nassau Street (outside the Militarized Zone) remains a free-for-all with cars all over what is supposed to be a pedestrian street. I wish the folks who are getting these good things done in Midtown would pay a little attention to the awful things that are going on in the financial district.

  • The “future performance area?” has a steeper side where the cars are, which hints that its a sort of barrier to out of control cars. One of them was in place a few weeks ago when I was there, Ill check if I have pictures of it.

  • vnm

    Well, White has two rooks versus Black’s rook and bishop. But I think Black potentially has a strong positional advantage. If Black can manage to put together a coordinated bishop-rook attack, they have a shot at winning this game. In fact, it looks like they’re about to move their bishop that’s being threatened by the rook at d6.

    I say move that bishop to c4. Then, on the next move, if possible, Black can move its rook to e1, putting the White king in check. If White tries to get out of check by moving its rook to f1, that team puts its rook in jeopardy. White’s best hope is to create a distraction by using its d-file rook to repeatedly put the Black king in check, which is actually not half bad.

  • That NYT piece is terrible.

  • I am surprised that streetsblog missed the obvious photo op that I have posted at

  • David

    The “performance areas” are curbs I think. One problem with pedestrian areas on street level is that if they want to get ride of the ugly orange things, they need a way to designate the difference between pedestrian areas and the open streets.

    So, this is essentially a curb – I have a feeling they will paint crosswalks at these (so you dont have to only cross at the existing corners). People can congregate on the platform and “step down” into the street when the light turns green. I am sure there will be over-sized planters as well.

    There is a small space on one side which most likely will be a bike lane, and there is a one-lane space on the other which is the “emergency” lane that DOT has said they will keep. I think that they will build ones on the other side of the street when these are done.

  • What happened to New York City? It used to be cool.


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