With an average of 45m visitors each year, Times Square is the most visited destination in New York and the United States. On the 19th of April, the NYC Department of Transportation, Department of Design and Construction, Snøhetta, and the Times Square Alliance celebrated the completion of a reinvented Times Square, as the revamped “Crossroads of the World” embraces its role as a stage for public life and freedom of expression.
Following the closure of Broadway to car traffic in 2009, Snøhetta’s design for the permanent pedestrian plaza cleared out decades of old infrastructure cluttering the square while creating a unified ground plane from building front to building front. Ten 50 ft long granite benches allow pedestrians to move through the area more comfortably, complementing the energy of the lights and excitement above. Since its completion in 2016, the Reconstruction has doubled the amount of pedestrian-only space at Manhattan’s core.
The design has transformed Times Square from one of New York’s most notoriously congested spaces into a radically open civic square, while also integrating crucial utility and event infrastructure upgrades. “Conceived as a project whose success would be measured not only by its new aesthetic but also the long-term physical, psychological and economic benefits on its community, the reinvention of Times Square stands as a model for how the design of our urban landscapes can improve health and well-being of its users while providing an important stage for public gathering,” said Craig Dykers, Architect and Founding Partner of Snøhetta.