I have warned in a previous note that New York is becoming a theme park for tourists, at the expense of those who live and work here. The closing of streets and intersections for weird public “spaces” and the endless parades and street fairs were examples I noted. Visitors may benefit; New Yorkers pay the price.
The trend is becoming more pronounced. City-financed bicycles are now being ridden by tourists who don’t know that it is illegal and dangerous to pedestrians to ride on sidewalks. The public areas in Times Square and Madison Square are now being rented out to fast food vendors, depriving the public of those spaces that already increased vehicular traffic. Or they are allocated to businesses that are making promotions or hosting performances. On Monday at 8 a.m., I saw commuters actually walking in the street in Times Square because the sidewalks and “public” spaces were filled by some event.
We who are part of the living New York community are happy for tourist dollars. But we don’t want our city to become like Venice or even London–a place for tourists and rich second-home owners. We love our city and want to keep it livable. –J. Douglas Ousley