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Gale Brewer

Gale Brewer Is Having None of This Cars-Back-in-Times-Square Business

We're gonna devote a post to reprinting this newly-released statement from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in its entirety, because it's that good:

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, sense-talker.

“I was proud to help fund the new TKTS booth and grandstand in Duffy Square and to stand with Mayor Bloomberg and his Transportation Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan at the opening of the plaza. Since then, like many New Yorkers who contributed in ways large and small to the revival of Times Square, I have crossed the plaza en route to meetings or performances, sat in the chairs to take in the scene, listened to languages from around the world, and reflected on whether the square’s renewal was a good thing for New York.

“It is clear that the renewal of Times Square as an area for pedestrians, and as a major shopping destination because of its pedestrian-friendly design, has been a huge success. In doubt? Ask about the rents. The plaza has made Times Square the very heart of New York once again, and the notion of destroying this in exchange for another cauldron of honking, snarled traffic is preposterous. I am often in a cab going through the area and traffic moves better now than before—the real congestion is on the cross streets, and this is due to the Broadway boom.

“As Borough President, I have been working with colleagues and the Times Square Alliance on a solution to the proliferation of costume characters and the ‘desnudas’. Those who are trumpeting a ‘task force’ should at least get briefed on the scores of meetings and proposals that have already been considered—including negotiating restricted areas, enforcement for harassing tactics, and some other ideas that seemed promising but might make matters worse. For example, to register ‘performers’ might only spread the problem to other locations. Until the mayor spoke out, no one who funded, designed, built, maintained, or enjoyed car-free Times Square thought the plazas should be destroyed.

“I join those who want a sensible solution—and there are several workable ones already on the table thanks to those who have been grappling with this issue for some time. It took real leadership and vision, and plenty of money, to create a different kind of New York that's not just for motorists. Putting back the honking, angry, fumy Broadway parking lot at the so-called center of the world would be no accomplishment. Surely we cannot go back to destroying the city in order to make it safe for more cars.”

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