The Real Deal New York

Topless women and Elmo hate mayor’s idea for Times Square

Sick of aggressive panhandling, mayor wants to reopen plaza to cars
August 21, 2015 09:00AM

Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to destroy the pedestrian plaza in Times Square in order to save it from a plague of topless women and cartoon characters.

The mayor said “a lot of people are very uncomfortable with” the aggressive panhandling that’s come to characterize the plaza. “On a common sense level,” de Blasio said, “this is not appropriate in the middle of a public square,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

The comments came during an announcement that a new task force will explore other ways to improve Times Square. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who is set to lead the panel along with Carl Weisbrod, director of City Planning, previously said the city should “dig the whole damn thing up,” referring to the plaza.

Much of the response, though, was negative. “Sure, let’s tear up Broadway. We can’t govern, manage or police our public spaces, so we should just tear them up,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, calling the idea “a surrender.”

Dan Biederman of the 34th Street Partnership said returning cars to the square would be “dangerous and not very urban.”

City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council member Corey Johnson and others also bashed the idea, according to the Journal. [WSJ]Ariel Stulberg