February 10, 2010
February 9, 2010
At this point I never feel like a tourist in this town. I long ago adopted the confident stride and steely-eyed-forward- facing stare of so many New Yorkers. When traveling through midtown-a place I more often then not try to avoid, I impatiently sidestep the slow moving herds of Europeans and Midwesterners if I must be there at all. But last Thursday night, too cold for most visitors, with the goal of looking at a familiar place in a new way, I surprised myself by dropping my cool indifference and began to act as if I’d never been here before. I slowed the pace and started taking shots with Chris’ camera at the pedestrian plaza on 59th.
In truth, I hadn’t walked the whole of the corridor since the avenue has been reconfigured. I’d seen the street plazas as one would who travels the length of the city on a regular basis. I viewed them dispassionately, thinking one of the last things I’d like to do was sit 2 feet away from a careening cab or some delivery truck belching smoke and all those honking horns. I didn’t feel connected to them. As with much of what one encounters in New York, if something doesn’t bite you, bump you, scream at you or kiss you, it doesn’t exist anyway. But standing on Broadway and 50th on a frigid school night, I knew that a guy hawking some comedy show looked at me and the group of us, and assumed we were from out of town. After all, who else would be slowly walking in clumps towards Times Square with cameras glued to faces stopping often to look up, down or to study a piece of outdoor furniture? This guy, probably an aspiring performer maybe making a buck or two extra if he got us to go to wherever it was he was talking about, targeted us in his challenge to do something different, because after all, we were in New York.
That guy doesn’t know how right he is. Or maybe he does.
Because of the cold, we only made it about half way down the corridor, but traveling those 17 blocks woke me up to the potential that the street plazas offer, in fact the whole notion of reconfiguring traffic to allow for open space began to make true sense. All the information we are beginning to compile has inspired me and tweaked a forgotten curiosity. My hard earned New Yorker’s sense of indifference is being threatened. I want to bump into this idea. On a milder winter day, who knows, I might even walk up on some temporary paving material, sit down next to a balustrade near a potted tree at a metal table on a plastic chair on 34th St and begin to think big. Because after all, we’re in New York.
-posted by Kathleen O’Grady
This is so true and funny , I guess it was an exceptional night to question what makes us “new yorkers” if the city will keep on surprising us. There was something so foreign and strange about walking that whole corridor without any people. – Monica
3 years ago
So true — never in all the years of being a resident of NYC have I felt like a tourist until that night. Seeing Times Square that night was a new experience – an experience of ah and wonder in an area that normally I would avoid or leave as quickly as possible……. Going back a few days later and seeing an open space sans traffic that maybe will go green – gives hope that the city will become a better, more environmentally friendly place to live and work — even if Times Sq has more commericalism in it than some countries produce in 1 year. - Jean
February 8, 2010
Times Square Alliance
Makeshift Mall in Times Square - NYT
Times Square Will Never Be Finished
Times Square Cam
Urban Omnibus: Times Square’s Lesson in Design Value
Shocking: A Post Auto Times Square?3 years ago
February 7, 2010
Beginning a project like Times Square is daunting. Not that the size of the space, from a landscape perspective, is particularly large. Nor is the scope of program. But it’s much like setting out to make sense of a massive canyon created by centuries of activity layered one on top of the other; the resulting formations can be complex and dizzying. There is no built public space quite like Times Square in both contemporary iteration and those that came before. It is simultaneously a designers dream - full of unique context and history from which to draw inspiration - and an intimidating undertaking.
Often the most difficult part of approaching a space to design is beginning. How do we organize and simplify the mass loads of data, info, context, and maps at our fingertips to lead us in a meaningful direction? To begin this project, students will choose a 100-year time period to investigate the Broadway Corridor from Columbus Circle to Madison Square, including Times Square:
1609-1709 1709-1809 1809-1909 1909-2009
Each period brings a significantly different form and function to the corridor and a possibility for better understanding what created the present site. From these possibilities come concepts that are intricately intertwined with the site that we’ve maybe never before considered. There is nothing like moving forward with a site and an authentic concept. Thus, the reason for our labors.
- posted by Anne Trumble3 years ago
February 5, 2010
February 4, 2010
February 3, 2010Times Square Studio is the public space section of the final design studio in the Masters of Landscape Design at Columbia University in New York City. Throughout the semester, we will be exploring the cultural and natural history of the Broadway Corridor from Columbus Circle to Madison Square Park and then developing potential designs for the future of Times Square. Although this is purely an academic exercise, we hope our observations, interpretations, and ideas about this iconic emergent landscape can be inspiration for a larger dialogue about the collective public spaces of our city. 3 years ago