A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 25, 2009
Great Walk Way (Broadway without vehicular traffic)

Broadway has long been nicknamed the “Great White Way.” In May 2009, vehicular traffic was restricted in Times Square and Herald Square. A February 26, 2009 article in the New York (NY) Times about the plan was titled “In New York, Broadway as Great Walk Way.”

The nickname “Great Walk Way” was used in May 2009 news articles as the plan went into effect.

New York (NY) Times
In New York, Broadway as Great Walk Way
Published: February 26, 2009
The idea seems to cut against the very grain of New York: to transform much of the city’s most storied avenue, Broadway, from a river of blaring cars, trucks and taxis into a planter-lined oasis for pedestrians, bicyclists and picnickers.

But on Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg unveiled a plan to do just that: Vehicles would be barred entirely from Broadway at public plazas in Times Square and Herald Square, and would share the thoroughfare with a bike lane and a promenade along the rest of the stretch from 59th Street to a new plaza at 23rd Street.

The city plans to start making the changes in late May, and more alterations are possible in the future.

Hartford (CT) Courant
Car Ban Will Create NYC’s Great Walk Way
March 8, 2009
Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city’s Department of Transportation announced plans to transform Broadway into a new world-class street, largely by rethinking Times and Herald squares.

Today, Broadway converges with Seventh and Sixth Avenue at these two squares, violating the grid pattern of traffic and causing traffic chaos. These two areas are also the most congested pedestrian spaces in New York City. Under the plan, the Great White Way will be closed to vehicle traffic from 47th to 42nd Streets and from 35th to 33rd Streets, and the space will instead be devoted to pedestrians.

WPIX-TV (New York, NY)
The ‘Great White Way’ Becomes the ‘Great Walk Way’
May 24, 2009
NEW YORK (WPIX) - The Great White Way is making less room for cars and more room for pedestrians.

Workers from the Department of Transportation on Sunday were busy changing street signs and preparing for the big construction project that will create pedestrian plazas in parts of the city that were once heavily used by cars.

The Department of Transportation has banned vehicles from stretches of Broadway at Times Square and at Herald Square in an effort to make the city more livable. Officials say the move will not only help cut down on pollution and pedestrian accidents but also help ease traffic. It will also provide people with more recreational space to do things like walk or ride their bikes.

New York (NY) Post
May 25, 2009
Broadway became the Great Walk Way yesterday—the first day of the ambitious vehicle ban that transportation officials say will actually improve traffic flow.

The experiment—set to last at least until the end of the year—calls for the Great White Way to be off-limits to motor traffic where it runs through Herald and Times squares.

Pedestrians, of course, applauded the idea.
The closures yesterday kicked in at 2 p.m. and affected Broadway between 33rd and 35th streets, and between 42nd and 45th streets. The two-block stretch between 45th and 47th, which is part of the plan as well, wasn’t slated to be closed until after 8 p.m., giving a street fair on Seventh Avenue time to wind down.

The plan calls for landscaping and seating in the closed areas, in addition to the widening of the sidewalks, a much-needed fix at Times Square, where pedestrian areas are so packed that theatergoers often walk in the street. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • (0) Comments • Monday, May 25, 2009 • Permalink