Readers Respond to Eric Adams’ Proposal to ‘Pedestrianize’ 5th Avenue

to attack Mayor Eric Adams’ plan to “pedestrianize” Fifth Avenue By widening the footpaths and reducing the four auto lanes to one last week, Warned it could create a Times Square-like situation Where pedestrian plazas made for a poor shopping environment while enabling disorderly behavior and crime.

The blow was immediate. A reader, “Uncle Sammy” proposed Fifth Avenue should be used for “outdoor dining sheds and outdoor gambling pop-ups”.

Less amusing were the tweets from retail leasing expert Steve Southendijk, a managing director at Cushman & Wakefield and co-chair of the retail committee at the Real Estate Board of New York.

Southendijk raged at my piece, “Never seen anything so out of touch.” It was “borderline parody,” “drivel” and “dog whistle.”

He objected that I disrespected D’s Sports at 1466 Broadway, which replaced Forever 21 at the location, for primarily selling sneakers. I quipped that Times Square was losing its classy retail to “fast food and fast feet.”

Southendijk tweeted that D Sports has 3,400 stores worldwide. I hope the soundtrack on the 3,399 others doesn’t even pipe in, as does the Times Square location, a rap number called “Uber Everywhere,” which features tons of F-bombs and lyrics like “Shorty wants to kiss me, but I know that sucker d-.

Armani 5th Avenue
Armani’s Fifth Avenue boutique.
LightRocket via Getty Images

Not everyone in retail agreed with Southendijk’s idea. Colliers vice chairman Bradley Mendelson, who has handled epic leases in both Times Square (Toys ‘R’ Us) and Fifth Avenue (Uniqlo), responded to Adams’ Fifth Avenue plan on Facebook that the mayor “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” doing” .”

Longtime Plaza skeptic Mendelson opined about Adams’ plan, “Why doesn’t he do what he should … clean up the trash, get rid of the rats instead of taking what’s already great and Make it worse.”

Elmo in Times Square
Costumed characters like Elmo are part of Times Square.

The most unexpected support for my idea came from the Chicago Tribune. An editorial calling for the revitalization of the once-premier but now struggling Michigan Avenue warned against turning the “Magnificent Mile” into a replica of what Adams had in mind for Fifth Avenue.

The paper was skeptical about “large, cold-weather high-crime cities with lots of pedestrians.” It quoted my column, “You need go no further than Times Square to see these pitfalls … in the cause of the so-called oasis.”

Fresh air from the Windy City!

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