03 June 2009

Times Square Now Home to Displaced Couch Potatoes


The new traffic-free Times Square now looks like someone's back patio during a particularly dull family reunion.

I strolled through last night, the first time I had been in the area since Bloomberg's plan to make large swaths of Times Square pedestrian friendly took effect. I expected to see people milling about Broadway, enjoying the novel freedom of car-free city streets. Instead, I was stopped dead by the unsightly picture of hundreds of slothful tourists sitting around in plaid, plastic lawn chairs. You know, the kind you'll find in any backyard in the Midwest during the warm months of the year. And the loungers didn't look like they were going anywhere. They were there to stay.

I am not against the new Times Square. And I don't mind those stylish cafe chairs and tables you find in Bryant Park (in green) and Duffy Square (in red). But lawn chairs? Whose idea was this? They're ugly in any context. But they're horrifyingly incongruous at the supposedly cosmopolitan Crossroads of the World. Everyone sits there in haphazard rows facing the Jumbotron, like they were home in Toledo watching their wide-screen TV. They turn the City That Never Sleeps into The City That Ever Sits.

This just seems like another example of how Bloomberg basically misunderstands the basic nature of New York. He thinks we're some kind of suburb or bland resort. He has horrible taste.


But it gets worse. In the area, which is apparently called "The Times Square Lounge" (ugh!), there are other chair prototypes for those willing to give them a try. Let's take a look.


There are these ridiculous plastic orange accordions, which look like they belong in a Chuck E. Cheese.


This item is called a Chaise-Lawn. Ha ha. It is very popular with our stouter tourists and induces slumber. The man pictured above climbed into it, and kept loudly groaning "Ahhhhhhh" and "Ohhhhhhh" with weary pleasure. I doubt he left it until early this morning.


I remember an old episode of "The Odd Couple" where Felix bought some new, tres moderne, utterly ludicrous furniture. A chair shaped like a large hand was one of the items. 30 years later, here it is again, as stupid as ever.

Are we to understand that, if these "chairs" prove popular with tourists, more will be carted in? Oh, God, no. Please take them all away. The lawn chairs, too. Keep Times Square open to pedestrians. But keep them moving! No loitering, please.

13 comments:

Ken Mac said...

i hate this idea. Times Square is meant to be the hub of the world, a buzzing, cacophonous place streaming with automobiles and humans trying to get out of the way7! Headlights in the night, car horns blaring, the buzz of human activity. This is like a backyard barbeque in Yonkers. I hate it.

Ed said...

One of the things people haven't come to grips with about Bloombergian New York is just how weird it is.

John M said...

I remember when New York did things for New Yorkers, and guess what? The tourists came anyway, because that's what they wanted to experience. Now New York does things for the tourists, who still come, but actual New Yorkers are disgusted and alienated by their own city.

I never thought I'd say it of any other mayor, but Bloomberg is worse than Giuliani.

ChickenUnderwear said...

John M

This is a gift to New Yorker. Now when the tourists go to Times Square they don't have to stand at the top of the subway stairs to do it. It is like a "tourist pen".

Keep em all in one spot and out of our way.

kmc said...

Bloomberg is so retarded.

kmc said...

Bloomberg is so retarded.

kmc said...

Bloomebrg is so retarded.

Will Hennessy said...

i already hated Times Square the way it was. now i have yet another reason to stay away. that looks so tacky...

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Tacky is the word. Yes. Like the building put up by Bloomberg's developers. Like the Cemusa newsstands. New York should not look tacky.

E.L. Malvaney said...

I'm a new fan of your blog, although I've only been to NYC once. Loved this post about Times Square and the commentary on how it's become so geared toward tourists it's not really NYC anymore. As someone who's often a tourist in large cities, I think it's always nice to find a place to sit and rest, but not in the middle of a herd of other tourists--a park bench or cafe is good for both residents and tourists and serves the same need as this terrible idea.

Eva said...

If so many people take a rest, this proves a need. You can't be on your feet all the time. The only reason to object is the ugliness of the chairs. But if this solved (and it's a challenge to designers), what's wrong with it?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I don't know, Eve. What's wrong with putting a bunch of lawn chairs around the Louvre? Or inside the Colosseum? Or in front of Buckingham Palace? These people don't need a rest. If you invent folks to plop, they'll plop. But I do that that there is an argument to be made about the appropriate overall aesthetics of a famous place. And lounging tourist isn't the right one for Times Square.

Anonymous said...

I hope people realize that Mike Bloomberg has come to the conclusion he has already won a third term. If Times Square does not make you realize he is not the man for the next 4 years nothing will. Think of the damage this man can do to the rest of NY and some of it's landmarks. Yankee and Shea stadiums, Coney Island. Those were once for the average New Yorker now they are for the rich or will be as in Coney Island , once it is Redeveloped by Bloomberg and Thor equities. WELCOME TO BLOOMBERGVILLE.