Dear Mayor de Blasio,
I am increasingly upset over the current conditions in Times Square. It is almost impossible to walk the streets in that area. As a New Yorker for over 50 years (and a taxpayer) I think I am entitled to be able to walk my streets and not feel claustrophobic and disgusted by what is around me in the Times Square area. I hate going there as do many city dwellers because it is so unbearable, and yet, how does one go to the theater without going through that zone?
I think I preferred it in the old days when it was full of hookers and pimps and drug addicts. Yes, it was dangerous but at least it kept the tourists away. Now it is seedy in a different way. We should be more ashamed of what goes on there now. Then, at least, the hookers were clothed, which leads me to my recent observation. I passed across the square to get to the subway on 47th Street and was shocked to see two naked women posing with nothing on but g-strings and some body paint. How is that okay? What happened to public nudity laws in this city? Isn’t it bad enough that we still have those “Disney” characters hanging around asking tourists for money? Is this really what we want tourists to take away from our “cultured” city?
In addition to this are the overwhelming crowds that make moving impossible. As you know, New Yorkers are pretty fast walkers. We do not have time to stagger around behind all these painfully slow people. They meander five and six abreast so no one else can get down the street. It is so frustrating. Years ago I didn’t have to stand in line to get into a Broadway theater when I had a ticket. Now we must wait a good 20-30 minutes or so in the freezing cold, snow, rain or horrendous heat. This just creates more problems for those trying to get somewhere as the huge lines are blocking the sidewalks. Yes, the theaters need to manage their lines better and open their doors much earlier which would alleviate some of the congestion.
Maybe we could have a passing lane for pedestrians who need to get somewhere as we do on the highways? The tourists can gawk and amble on the right and the locals can then pass on the left. I’m sure you have some smart city planners on staff who can figure this out? Something MUST be done. Otherwise you are going to drive away all us New Yorkers who frequent Broadway shows and restaurants.
Times Square and the Theater District belong to all of us and I am willing to share it with the tourists but I do not think they should have all of it. I know we need the tourist business for our economy but it has now gotten out of hand. I can appreciate how the people of Venice, Italy feel when the huge cruise ships offload their passengers into the small city and inundate it. Please help to solve these problems and improve our quality of life on the streets of “Olde New York”!