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In Appreciation of the NEW Times Square

Mayor 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, it seems like the media has decided to fixate on rumorsthat 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.

StreetFilms
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Park(ing) Day NYC 2008

Transportation Alternatives reports during this year's foray into PARKing Day there were over 50 parking spaces temporarily reclaimed throughout the city, nearly doubling last year's total. I'll say this: that's a lot of freaking sod!!

As usual for these things, the fare ran from the wildly creative to the calm & soothing. There was a meditation garden in Williamsburg, origami being folded at The Open Planning Project's spot, and a bevy of spots with an advocacy theme. But the strangest time-continuum alternative-universe event occurred at Peter Frishauf's spot on the Upper West Side where I filmed him following the live blogging on Streetsblog about PARKing Day! And finally, although my work comrades had an amazingly elaborate spot, if I had to vote this year's winner it would be the Lower East Side Girl's Club. Again. You guys rock.

This year my travels took me to four of the five boros: biked 43 miles, filmed 22 spots, spent 11 hours outdoors and had one bike crash - while I was walking my bike through Times Square. Go figure!

Related Linkage: ReBar, PARK(ing) Day NYC site, PARK(ing) Day NYC 2007 video, Park(ing) Day SF 2006 video. And a big hug to Ditto Ditto who let us use their bouncy-fun tune for this piece.