On September 26, Snohetta Design, an architecture firm, revealed its $27 million preliminary plan for renovating Times Square's ground surfaces and seating to Midtown Community Board 5's Transportation Committee.
All the sky blue, orangey-beige and shades of grey that make up the ground between 42nd Street and 47th Street will be transformed into a darker concrete flooring with small metal rivets. The plan will eliminate haphazard pavement and evidence of the old roadways, making the expanses of pedestrian plazas permanent.
A large component of the proposed redesign is additional seating. Tourists and residents can be seen surveying Times Square from the TKTS booth's stadium-like seating area. There are typically vacant seats available.
Five different types of custom benches as well as movable seating will be added. The current kinds of seating in Times Square are red metal chairs, sidewalk curbs and anything else visitors can park themselves on.
Rosa, a New York resident (fourth from the left), said she had no real complaints with Times Square and was apathetic about the plan to add more permanent seating.
Snohetta's vision for Times Square includes a bike lane that would switch from Broadway to 7th Avenue and then back to Broadway between 47th Street and 42nd Street.
Bikers currently travel alongside traffic and cut into the pedestrian plazas when necessary.
Craig Dykers, the Snohetta designer who presented their plan to the mostly approving Committee Board, said the renovations aim to make the billboards even more of the focus in Times Square. The vision is that a unified ground level that's darker in color with more organized permanent furniture will create a sense of spaciousness.
Currently, the largest billboard is American Eagle and Aeropostale's corner of light. (Pictured above is Cintia Dicker, a model for Aerie lingerie.) Dykers suggested that the ground level is competing for attention—“What we have today is essentially a situation where there’s a great deal of activity on all the surfaces,” he said, adding that it “is kind of sucking the energy out of the marquees.”
Another motivation for this project that was stated at the presentation is to create spaces for tourists and allow New Yorkers to navigate the crowds more easily.
A crowd of pedestrians stand and watch the trailer for Real Steel playing on the large screen across the street.