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Naked Cowboy

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The Pedestrianization of Times Square and the Naked Cowboy

Times Square is an iconic location in the City of  New York. In planner speak a place like this is often called a magnet, attactions like these generate activity and draw in people. They call them attractions for a reason. One of Times Square’s more notable citizens is Robert John Burck, more popularly known as the Naked Cowboy, an American Busker with a signature style of wearing only his hat, cowboy boots, a pair of tighty whiteys and a strategically placed guitar. As his main patch is times square the Naked Cowboy and the multitudes of photo’s of him scattered across the Internet as a backdrop to the change taking place in Times Square.

Naked cowboy times squarenaked cowboy per closure

You see up until recently Times Square, while known as an attraction for people, was predominantly a space for cars.  However with the induction of New York’s Fearless new Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and the changes that have come with her, Times Square is now a different place.  Janette has mentioned that she is taking part of her inspiration for the pedestrianization of Times Square from the Strøget, a car free zone in the center of Copenhagen. In Copenhagen it has turned that part of the city into the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe and now a very genteel (tax generating) part of the city.

naked cowboy traffic island pre closure

In a brilliant stroke of decisive action the commissionar has decided not to bother waiting for fancy paving stones, and public squares. The first move was made with traffic cones, paint, and cheap patio furnature. The swift take over gives the plaza and exicting feel, pedestrians get an immeadiate payoff from the enjoyment of  being able to use the space and the local buisness owners might even get a taste for the effect of the increased foot traffic. There is no inbetween period when the space isn’t for cars or pedestrains fenced off and waiting for the fancy work to be done making the plaza a permanent installation, everyone can experience the kind of place Times Square can become right now. Instant gratification.

naked-cowboy- when there were cars

The many photo’s of the Naked Cowboy in Times Square show the kind of place it was, and now photos are arriving that show the kind of place it has become, and the kind of place it can be. At the moment the lawn chairs and traffic cones represent an irreverent and almost adolecent kind of Times Square. A Times Square that you assume would have a Naked Cowboy. It is an invigorating transition before it eventually grows up into a more genteel and tidy space.

(Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times/Redux)

(Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times/Redux)