Streetfilms Recut: Jan Gehl’s 2005 Times Square Interview With 2018 Plaza Footage

jangehl

I still get tense, agitated, and claustrophobic any time I look back at old footage of Times Square. Before DOT turned several blocks of Broadway into pedestrian plazas in 2009, it was flat-out horrible for people.

But last week I happened to pass by Times Square and its car-free spaces, and you’d never now how awful it used to be.

I realized I was standing in the same spot where Streetsblog and Streetfilms publisher Mark Gorton interviewed public space maestro Jan Gehl about the state of Times Square 12 years ago, before the redesign. I thought it might be interesting to recut the Streetfilm of that interview, using new footage to go with Gehl’s future-looking language.

The result is pretty awesome.

We often forget how streets used to feel and function. In New York, we still have a long way to go, but many amazing improvements have been made. When you look at Times Square and how much negative press the plazas received when they were implemented, then revisit it now and see how well it works, you realize anything is possible. We just need the will to do this everywhere we can.

  • AnoNYC

    Now pedestrianise the rest of Broadway.

  • AMH

    And make it a 2-way bike route! That would be really useful.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Times Square Flashback: Revisit the Bad Old Days With Streetfilms

|
New Yorkers might have forgotten just how bad the bad old days were in Times Square. Gridlock blocked crosswalks. Pedestrians were relegated to crush levels on the sidewalks. It wasn’t a pleasant place to be. Relive the nightmare with this Streetfilm from 2006, in which Streetsblog publisher Mark Gorton interviews Danish architect and public space expert […]

DOT Minds the GAP

|
With city workers pouring concrete in the background (and StreetFilms’ cameras rolling), New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced pedestrian and cyclist improvements for Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza yesterday. The plan calls for 11,000 square feet of new, landscaped pedestrian islands, a separated bike path, new crosswalks and pedestrian signals. The redesign […]

Famed Danish Urbanist Jan Gehl in Town to Consult on PlaNYC

|
The Urbanist Musketeers: Alex Garvin, Jan Gehl and Fred Kent in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sept. 30, 2006. Jan Gehl, the famed Danish urbanist, is in New York City this week where, sources say, he has been hired as a consultant for Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC program. At a presentation to the board of the Regional Plan Association […]

Times Square BID Leader on the Art of Street Reclamation

|
This used to be the scene of gridlocked traffic. Photo: berk2804 Seven years ago, when Tim Tompkins took over as president of the Times Square Alliance, one of New York’s largest BIDs, security and cleanliness were the top concerns. Despite incessant traffic and "pedlock," few decision-makers were focused, at first, on the vision of Times […]
STREETFILMS

The Metamorphosis of NYC Streets

|
There’s nothing more dramatic than looking back five or ten years at Streetfilms footage to see how much the streets of New York City have changed. In this wonderful montage, check out the incredible changes at Times Square, Herald Square, the Brooklyn waterfront, and many other places that outgoing NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and […]