Times Square, Then and Now: A Streetfilms Retrospective

In New York City, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is expected to announce his verdict on Times Square’s new pedestrian spaces very soon. Will the changes be permanent? This morning Bloomberg told radio host John Gambling that we’ll find out sometime next week. In the meantime, the media has focused on rumors that Midtown traffic speeds may not have increased across the board, without paying much attention to the tremendous difference this project has made for hundreds of thousands of pedestrians every day.

It’s been eight months since this part of Broadway went car-free, and maybe it’s hard to recall just how bad Times Square used to be for everyone walking around. To really appreciate what we have today, you’ve got to take a trip back in time to see the crowded, dangerous mess that used to fester at the crossroads of the world. Naturally, the moment calls for a Streetfilms retrospective.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Streetfilms: A Streetside Chat With Jan Gehl

|
In November 2006, Danish planner Jan Gehl met Streetsblog Publisher Mark Gorton in Times Square to reflect on the state of the city’s public spaces. In this Streetfilm by Clarence Eckerson, EIC Aaron Naparstek catches up with Gehl in the new Madison Square to talk about what has changed in the intervening two years, and […]

Bikes, Cars, and People Co-Exist on Pittsburgh’s Shared Streets

|
Summer is finally here, but livable streets advocates already can’t wait for September to come. The biennial Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference is taking place in Pittsburgh, a city that’s shedding its “Rust Belt” image and emerging as a leader in progressive street design with the help of a new mayor who’s committed to biking, […]

Can Snow Inspire Better Streets? It Already Has.

|
Sneckdowns are having a big moment. In case you’ve missed the viral blog posts and major press coverage, sneckowns (a contraction of “snowy neckdowns” popularized by Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson Jr. and Streetsblog founding editor Aaron Naparstek) are leftover snow piles on city streets that show space that could easily be reclaimed for pedestrians. As a visual tool, […]

The Crossroads of the World Goes Car-Free

|
I’ve lived in New York City for just about twenty years now but yesterday was my first trip to Times Square. Sure, I’ve been to Times Square before. Plenty of times. But until yesterday Times Square had never ever been a destination for me. Rather, it had always been a place to avoid or, if […]

Midtown Movie Car Chase Ends with Car Jumping Curb, Injuring Two

|
The New York Post has posted shocking video of a movie car chase being filmed in Times Square that ended with a car losing control, jumping the curb and injuring two pedestrians. (Warning: this includes some graphic images): Fortunately, according to the AP, the pedestrians’ injuries were not life-threatening. It’s not clear how tightly the […]