HOW TIMES SQUARE WAS REBORN

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA -

Com­mit­ment to re­de­vel­op­ment swapped out sex shops and drugs for a re­tail par­adise for pedes­tri­ans

busi­nesses, ac­cord­ing to Sa­ga­lyn.

“The sec­ond ini­tia­tive was the mid­town zon­ing res­o­lu­tion in 1982, which de­fined a special district in mid­town to en­cour­age de­vel­op­ment to move west­ward,” Sa­ga­lyn said.

Th­ese zon­ing rules al­lowed for major re­tail stores on Fifth Av­enue and pro­tected land­mark theaters in the en­ter­tain­ment sub-district around Times Square. Ex­perts credit th­ese reg­u­la­tions with help­ing to trans­form the once-seedy square into an in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tion and fos­ter­ing de­vel­op­ment fur­ther west.

The sig­nif­i­cant tax in­cen­tives got peo­ple to build ei­ther ho­tels or of­fice tow­ers there, Tomp­kins ex­plained.

“The idea was if you brought a bunch of pos­i­tive ac­tiv­i­ties to the place, the tourists and peo­ple would just walk to the neigh­bor­hood and that would pro­vide some coun­ter­point to the neg­a­tive ac­tiv­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with the sex in­dus­try,” he said.

Ul­ti­mately th­ese pub­lic pol­icy tools did make a dif­fer­ence, said Tomp­kins.

In 1990, the city es­tab­lished The New 42nd Street, a non­profit ded­i­cated to the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of 42nd Street be­tween Sev­enth and Eighth av­enues, ar­guably the neigh­bor­hood’s most dan­ger­ous and dicey area.

A shift in how po­lice were de­ployed and man­aged put into ef­fect by thenMayor David Dink­ins and later by Mayor Ru­dolph Gi­u­liani also helped, Tomp­kins said.

Times Square didn’t stop chang­ing. In 2009, the city closed parts of Broad­way to traf­fic, turn­ing it into a major pedes­trian plaza.

The ex­per­i­ment was such a suc­cess that the city de­cided to make it per­ma­nent. Of­fi­cials hired the ar­chi­tec­tural firm Snøhetta the fol­low­ing year to de­sign a new per­ma­nent plaza that added 110,000 square feet of pedes­trian space, 10 50-foot-long gran­ite benches and des­ig­nated ac­tiv­ity zones to im­prove the pedes­trian traf­fic flow through the area.

The neigh­bor­hood has come a long way, but, as Tomp­kins says, “Times Square is al­ways go­ing to be crazy, chaotic and full of sur­prises. It’s a part of the ur­ban ex­pe­ri­ence — a lit­tle bit messy, but that’s OK.”

“Times Square is al­ways go­ing to be crazy, chaotic and full of sur­prises. It’s a part of the ur­ban ex­pe­ri­ence — a lit­tle bit messy, but that’ s OK.” “The sec­ond ini­tia­tive was the mid­town zon­ing res­o­lu­tion in 1982, which de­fined a special district in mid­town ... ”

PHO­TOS BY JUDY ZHU / CHINA DAILY

Times Square in New York City is al­ways bustling with peo­ple and traf­fic in New York City.

A heart-shaped dis­play in Times Square on Valen­tine’s Day 2017.

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