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Norway's Snohetta Builds a Times Square for New Yorkers, with a Touch of 1940's Noir

By: Billy Gray

April 4, 2013

It’s hard to think of a New York neighborhood that has seen more constant and dramatic reincarnations than Times Square. Beneath the perpetual neon has been a rotation of music halls, peep shows, big-box chain restaurants, Toys “R” Us ferris wheels and, another rare constant, Broadway theaters.

But in good times and in bad—and which era you label good or bad is subjective—the Crossroads of the World has, for decades, been a place New Yorkers preferred to avoid.



New Yorker

Psychology of Space

By: David Owen

January 21, 2013

ANNALS OF ARCHITECTURE about Snøhetta, a Norwegian architecture firm, and its plans to redesign Times Square. The firm, whose first American commission was for an entrance pavilion at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, was chosen by New York City to, in effect, redesign Times Square—one of the city’s most famous landmarks and, for residents, perhaps its most despised one. A third of a million people pass through the square daily, yet the visitors are mainly tourists and their predators, and when the big theatres let out on summer evenings the human crush can seem cataclysmic.


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Times Square 'Bow Tie' Is to Get Belts of Steel and Granite

By: David Dunlap

January 13, 2013

Times Square, one the most free-flowing public spaces in the world, will be constrained a bit by the addition of dozens of stainless-steel bollards and granite barriers that are intended to prevent terrorists — and drunks — from driving vehicles on to the pedestrian plazas that have been created between West 42nd and West 47th Streets.

The installation of new security measures throughout Times Square, a step that has been advocated by the Police Department, was approved Jan. 7 by the mayoral Design Commission.



Fast Co

Why A $45 Million Face-Lift Will Make Walking Through Times Square Suck A Lot Less

By: Matt McCue

August 8, 2012

Hordes of people pass through Times Square each day. A planned makeover may help them actually enjoy it.

Last year, New York hosted a record 50 million tourists. Many gravitated toward the thriving logjam that is Times Square, where they collided with the 200,000 locals who toil away nearby. To alleviate that chaos, the area will undergo a $45 million, three-year face-lift beginning this fall. Craig Dykers--a partner in Snohetta, the Oslo- and New York-based architectural firm that's spearheading the effort--explains the changes.



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Times Square makeover to build in broadcasting infrastructure.

By: Tom Stoelker

May 31, 2012

Last September, the Bloomberg administration announced architecture firm Snøhetta’s plans for a makeover of the Great Crossroads into a 21st-century pedestrian plaza with futuristic touches like metallic tiles and zoomy slab benches. Then silence as the current décor of junky bistro chairs and peeling paint polka dots seemed to settle in for the ages. The $45 million plan due to be complete by 2014 has been waiting on Con Edison.

Times Square needs extensive subterranean work before the future can get underway. “That’s the greatest story never told,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner, of the outdated infrastructure beneath the street, including 19th-century trolley tracks and gas mains now being replaced by some serious backstage (that is, below-grade) infrastructure to support one of the world’s great outdoor stages.

No longer will visitors simply look up at the energy of Times Square; they’ll be sitting on it, too. The long granite sculptural benches indicating the thrust of the Great White Way will now carry electrical currents of up to 400 amps. The new entertainment infrastructure with fiber-optic connectivity will be the first of its kind in the city and could have implications for other event venues likely to pop up on 34th and Broadway, Madison Square, Union Square, and other plazas in Midtown.



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Major Times Square Redesign to Start in Spring

By: Mathew Katz

May 1, 2012

MIDTOWN — Besides dodging taxis and tourists, visitors to the Crossroads of the World will soon have to contend with torn-up streets and disconnected water mains — as initial work on the massive redesign of Times Square begins this spring, a timetable released by the city revealed.

The $40 million project will see both Broadway and Seventh Avenue repaved — with a mosaic design embedded in the concrete — accompanied by new lamps and benches.

The project will make the pedestrian plaza in the area permanent, adding infrastructure that includes electrical outlets to eliminate the need for generators at large events and concerts, according to the Department of Transportation and the Department of Design and Construction.



New York Mag

Countdown to a New Times Square: Could it become a place where New Yorkers actually want to hang out?

By: Justin Davidson

April 15, 2012

For two decades, New Yorkers have viewed Times Square as the city’s heart of brightness, a candy-colored hellhole to be avoided whenever possible. At either end of a workday or just before curtain time, we may dart and jostle past slow-moving out-of-towners, but the notion of meeting friends for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe or whiling away a weekend afternoon held rapt by the symphony of screens doesn’t cross our minds.

Starting next fall, workers with jackhammers will tear apart the bow tie, temporarily making it an even less congenial place to hang out. But one major goal of the $45 million construction project is to persuade New Yorkers to love Times Square—to convince them that it’s not just a backdrop for a million daily snapshots but Manhattan’s most central, and most convivial, gathering spot. Architects and visionaries have often addressed that old ambition with high-energy concepts that gave us the current high-tech razzmatazz. Even in this round of ideas, the city has fended off proposals for colored LEDs embedded in the pavement, for ramps, staircases, pavilions, digital information kiosks, heat lamps, trees, lawns, canopies, and, of course, more video screens.



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A New Look Is Coming to Times Square: Minimalism

By: Michael Grynbaum

September 27, 2012

Times Square, whose fiery neon signs and jumbo billboards make it the epitome of larger-than-life New York, is about to get a modern, minimalist sprucing up.

A $27 million redesign headed toward final approval by the city would transform the square’s raw, concrete pedestrian plazas into sleek silver-gray spaces populated by slablike benches and metallic tiles.

The plan, which would be completed in 2014, calls for both a futuristic, streamlined look and a noirish quality that evokes the square’s colorful and occasionally illicit past.