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Wednesday’s Headlines: Winter Wonderland Edition

12:03 AM EST on November 23, 2022

Ghost of Christmas past: This was Rockefeller Center before the Adams administration stepped in. Photo: Stunt Queen

We had already read about it in Time Out New York's rare scoop last week, but the Adams administration released the details of its Fifth Avenue holiday open street plan yesterday. And, frankly, it puts the "wonderful" in the "most wonderful time of the year."

According to the City Hall press release, the Department of Transportation and its "Vision Zero partners" at the NYPD will bar cars from Fifth Avenue between 48th and 57th streets on three holiday-period Sundays — Dec. 4, 11, and 18 — from noon until  6 p.m. The public space will be the site of performances, vendors and seating (activities will be posted here).

In addition, on all other days throughout the holiday season, the city will repurpose the westernmost and easternmost lane of Fifth Avenue and on the east side of Sixth Avenue to create more space for pedestrians, who will be protected with movable barriers between 48th and 52nd streets. The barriers will be moved into place in the early afternoon (on weekdays) and early in the day on Saturdays.

And starting with the tree lighting on Wednesday, Nove. 30 and continuing through early to mid-January, cars will be entirely banned on "streets surrounding Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall," also with movable barriers. West 49th and West 50th streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues will be pedestrianized between 11 a.m. and midnight every day — which City Hall called "the most congested hours."

The Adams administration said it will also spend $200,000 on media campaigns to support local businesses during a key shopping period. The pedestrian-friendly plan makes sense given that the city released a report last month showing that car-free streets increase business activity. (Irony of ironies: The city is citing its pro-business stance as the reason to keep cars off Fifth Avenue — but under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city cited holiday shopping as the reason it couldn't do the very same thing.)

No wonder the current City Hall called it "a sweeping plan to cement Midtown Manhattan as the premiere international holiday destination." Enjoy it all — on foot. (The Post and Gothamist covered it.)

In other news:

    • Boy, this is the thinnest story about policing we've read in a while. How about providing some evidence that the NYPD is doing a better job on "quality-of-life" crimes? (NY Post)
    • Ugh, "journalism" doesn't get worse than this: LA Magazine wants us to feel sad for the rich socialite who killed two kids after a few margaritas. Even for a fawning celebrity magazine, this is just too much. It's not an "accidental death of two children" when the driver is going 80.
    • Top-quality reporter John Surico picked out the gem in the Innovation Queens development approval, which didn't make the Post, QNS or the Times:
    • We couldn't agree more with local treasure Christopher Robbins that the ideal time for Thanksgiving dinner is 8 p.m., but for some reason, our host wants us to get to New Canaan on Metro-North by 1 p.m. (you try to do that — we're leaving Brooklyn at like 9 a.m. That's too early for bourbon even for us!) (Hell Gate)
    • Speaking of Hell Gate, the outlet was the latest to notice our old man editor's one-man criminal mischief wave continuing in the city. But the outlet missed his most recent effort:
    • And, finally, for the record, ace reporter Kevin "Double Duty" Duggan did not drive one of the Sanitation Department's extra-narrow snowplows at the agency's annual "Snow and Tell" event to kick off what we hope will be a light winter season. But he did get us this story and send us this picture:
Streetsblog reporter Kevin Duggan gets the story.
Streetsblog reporter Kevin Duggan gets to the heart of the story.
Streetsblog reporter Kevin Duggan inspects one of the bike lane snow plows up close at the Spring Street garage on Nov. 22, 2022.

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