Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New York Times Square up for redesign

Rendering of Times Square 's redesign. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2013 and end in 2014.

Rendering of Times Square 's redesign. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2013 and end in 2014.

Times Square is getting a sleek new makeover.

The architects behind the National September 11 Memorial & Museum have unveiled their plans to spruce up the Theater District's pedestrianized area with a multimillion-dollar redesign.

Under the proposals, yet to be finalized, the shabby blue-and- beige painted asphalt will be replaced with stone or concrete, and large benches and chairs will replace the wobbly red metal seats currently scattered around the area.

"We wanted to reduce the clutter ... and create a unified identity for the heart of Times Square," said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, who has been working closely with the architects.

"It'll look dramatically different, but we like that in some ways the design is about more being less," he said.

Snohetta Design revealed its preliminary designs at a Monday night meeting of Manhattan's Community Board 5.

Construction should begin next fall and be completed by 2014.

"The general reaction was very favorable," said Wally Rubin, Community Board 5 district manager.

"It's taken years of thought and work and dialogue to make Times Square the kind of place that looks good and works for the purposes that it's designed for."

The ground will be leveled to remove traces of the old curbs and sidewalks, and it will be embedded with stainless steel "pucks" no bigger than a nickel to reflect the lights coming off Times Square's vibrant signs.

The number of light poles will be reduced.

Officials hope the zone, which runs from W. 42nd to W. 47th Sts., will provide a place for tourists to congregate while still enabling frenetic New Yorkers who live and work in the area to pass through unhindered.

"The new design looks better. It fits better with the buildings and the lights and the environment," said Nicole Stutzmann, 16, visiting New York with her parents from Switzerland.


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