The free-WIFI experiment

Times Square is a fragile place. In 2016 a solitary homeless man was caught watching porn using the tablet of a free WIFI kiosk located around the Square. Immediately the news made a big echo of this issue tracing an imaginary relationship between this man and the recent past of the zone, the one before its renovation. A tourist interviewed by the New York Post was complaining about the situation saying that right now Times Square was much worse than in the ’70s because at least at that time the porn was indoors. 

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The Project for Public Spaces

The transformation of Times Square from a car-land to a sight of the walkable public space is the result of a process based on pedestrianizing Broadway that occurred during the Bloomberg mayoralty. In a brief sense, the portions of Broadway Avenue crossing Times Square and Herald Square were eliminated from the City’s traffic system, changing their use and meaning, displacing the vehicular hegemony in the area. 

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Why Times Square?

Why Times Square? That is a ubiquitous question that people ask me every time I used to talk about the study object of this piece of research. Times Square now, the current version we have of this place, looks like a location where one cannot find anything serious for conducting an academic piece of research. It seems like an infertile field utterly dependent on external forces, but at the same time, an exhausted and packed and sealed one under the label of either gentrification-Disneyfication or the official one of revitalization. The usage of each one of those two terms depends on who is telling the story of this site. However, in both versions, Times Square appears like a finished object, a black boxed location without so much to offer.

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Lights still on

It was almost midnight, and the air was unusually cold due to some sporadic showers during the night. I was seated on a concrete bench in front of an empty and under remodeling spot between Broadway Avenue and W. 47th Street. After midnight, when the area is less transited, a group of workers starts its shift that consists in adapting and restyling the bare commercial place for a new branch of Swarovski. During the day, the construction remains closed. However, at nights, and despite the work is carried out inside, one can see from the sidewalk the lights and sparks going out of the welding machine, as well as the men doing their handiwork. 

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