Not the best picture, I apologize, but this week has not been the best for weather and I was running to avoid being stuck in a downpour. As such, I didn’t really take time to frame the shot well. What you see though is that a walk down Broadway is not what it used to be. A few years ago, Mayor Bloomberg started an initiative that would shut down several lanes of traffic along Broadway and create pedestrian zones. As a major thoroughfare for car traffic, this plan was met with quite a bit of opposition (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/06/nyregion/06broadway.html?pagewanted=all&_moc.semityn.www). As a walker in the city, I love it.
The Department of Transportation claimed a few lanes of traffic and have created a wonderful green space that, when nice, is filled with people. In the picture, you can see that cars are blocked from the space by large potted plants. This stretch of Broadway pictured also includes a unique art installation that is steel cubes filled with bushes. Many areas include seating and tables to stop and relax or even take a quick bite to eat. The program began as a pilot to see how it would be received and despite some opposition the program has remained- and even increased. These spaces help to make NYC a friendlier looking city, something many argue is not mean streets image that has come to characterize New York. Personally, I enjoy these spaces- though I do admit to eye rolling occasionally at large groups of tourists who manage to block the entire pedestrian zone as I am trying to get somewhere.