Bratton: Times Square Plazas Will Stay

The de Blasio administration has finally put to rest the idea of yanking out the Times Square pedestrian plazas. Was that so hard?

Photo: Policy Exchange/Flickr

Erik Engquist at Crain’s reports that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said City Hall will see through the $55 million capital construction project to cast the plazas in concrete, which has been in progress for a few years already. The city will “finish the construction as designed with some additional improvements,” Bratton told a breakfast gathering of the big business-affiliated Association for a Better New York in Midtown this morning.

Mayor de Blasio’s Times Square task force is supposed to issue its recommendations about desnudas, aggressive Elmos, and other pressing problems on October 1. It looks like those recommendations will be strongly influenced by the ideas put forward last week by a coalition led by the Times Square Alliance — new rules about where commercial activity like posing for pictures with tourists for tips is allowed, plus an NYPD unit trained in the nuances of Times Square law and order.

Last week Bratton said he first raised the prospect of tearing out the plazas to “smoke out” who’s on the side of keeping them. When the smoke cleared, Bratton was pretty much by himself, a police commissioner whose ideas are at odds with how most New Yorkers want to manage their streets and public spaces.

  • Nora

    That’s definitely good news, though in my more cynical (and conspiracy-theory-esque?) moments, I think no one was ever seriously intending to yank the plaza, and instead it was a convenient way to distract advocates from other more serious threats to street safety.

  • The Dude on 42

    Thank goodness Bratton decided that for us. 🙂

  • AlexWithAK

    So in offhanded comments at a breakfast, Bratton revealed that the plazas will stay. OK, good. But de Blasio has made himself look incredibly weak through this whole debacle and did serious damage to his credibility on the issue of safer streets and Vision Zero. He didn’t rebuke the idea right away or even at subsequent opportunities and rather than coming out with a statement, his commissioner (who seems to be much more in charge than he is) is the one who breaks the news.

    The outcome is good for now. But my faith in BdB’s commitment to safer streets is pretty much gone now and I worry about how he’ll approach future issues along these lines.

  • r

    Very good news. Now can we find out where the nominal mayor of New York City stands on this issue?

  • Ah, so we can keep the plazas because we got Bratton’s approval, as though it is his role to dictate policy like some military strongman.

    The mayor should be embarassed and ashamed that he has let it come to this, instead of putting his foot down on this insubordinate appointee.

  • Alex

    You might be onto something. Here we are celebrating “saving” something while the likelihood of similar things being done elsewhere and enforcement of ROW dwindle. Bratton comes from a time when the commons was a problem. His comments, and even his way of thinking, remain out of line and this doesn’t change that De Blasio is buying into Bratton. Many never thought the men would be joined this way, but I predicted that De Blasio would not get along with the NYPD and this has empowered the department/commissioner immensely. The big picture news is still dire.

  • Alex

    Also, is it just me or does anyone else see an eerie converse pattern emerging here in the Bratton-ization of DeBlasio and the Cuomo-ization of Prendergast?

  • c2check

    I’m sure Bratton was just worried that people would be calling for the removal of the NYPD’s own street closure/fortress if Times Square was removed.

  • AlexWithAK

    It’s like Cuomo and Bratton have each taken one of their kids hostage and they’re just complying to get them back safely.

  • Frank Dell

    How kind and benevolent of Generalissimo Bratton to give us these plazas.


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