Urbanismo

El Puente Juan Bravo en Madrid
Ingeniería / Urbanismo

El Puente Juan Bravo en Madrid

Octubre de 2017. Desde un pueblo de la Cataluña Vieja escribo sobre un puente ubicado en Madrid que ha marcado mi camino. La situación política actual entre Cataluña y España merece un diálogo novedoso y sobretodo bonito, quizás el Puente […]

(more details later, as time permits)

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Times Square, in case you cared, was not always known as Times Square. Until 1904 it was known as Longacre Square; it got that name because, back in the mid-1800s, it was a center for carriage-making in New York City, and was considered to be similar to a carriage-making district in London known as Long Acre. Later on, it was nicknamed the "Thieves Lair," because of its reputation as a low entertainment district. The first theater on Long Acre Square was built by cigar manufacturer Oscar Hammerstein -- and by the 1890s, it was thronged by crowds of restaurant and cafe patrons, and middle- and upper-class theater aficionados. It was the year 1904 when Mayor George G. McClellan yielded to the pressure from New York Times owner and publisher, Adolph Ochs, and renamed the intersection of 42nd Street, Seventh Avenue, and Bloomingdale Road with its current name -- Times Square -- in honor of the Times Building.

Most visitors and tourists, of course, know nothing about this; nor do they know that the intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street is the eastern terminus of the Lincoln Highway, which was the first road (5,869 miles long) across the United States -- covering a total of 14 states, 128 counties, and over 700 cities, towns and villages. Indeed, most New Yorkers don't know any of this history either, and their eyes would probably glaze over if you explained it all to them. It's sad, too, because most people think that Times Square is a garish invention of the modern age, and that it sprang into existence with the arrival of ... oh, I don't know ... the Beatles.

All that history notwithstanding, Times Square underwent another major transformation back in February 2009, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that traffic lanes along Broadway, between 42nd and 47th Street, would be transformed into pedestrian plazas between Memorial Day and the end of the year. The plaza was originally supplied with inexpensive multicolored plastic lawn chairs ... but you won't see any of those in this Flickr set, because they've all been replaced with relatively sturdy metal furniture (though, like the tables and chairs in Bryant Park, none of it is chained or bolted into place; people can move things around to suit their immediate needs). On Feb 11, 2010, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the pedestrian plazas in Times Square would remain permanent; and now there is a similar plan underway to experiment with a pedestrian plaza on 34th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

I was vaguely aware of this development, and I've occasionally seen the tables, chairs, and pedestrian plaza while traveling around the city. But it was cold in February, and there really weren't all that many visitors. Now it's spring, and it's warm, and the tourists have begun to arrive. So I took the subway down to Times Square this past weekend, and spent an hour or two wandering around, mostly between 42nd and 47th Street, to see how people were using this newly-transformed part of the city.

Aside from the people hustling theater tickets and guided tours, as well as a preacher or two, I didn't really see any New Yorkers. Almost everyone was a tourist -- either from some other part of the country, or from some other part of the world. I heard a dozen different languages, saw a dozen different fashion styles, and observed a dozen different reactions to the huge signs (known locally as "spectaculars" and "jumbotrons") advertising the products of Coca-Cola, Samsung, and other huge companies. ABC's Times Square studios are located here, Good Morning America is broadcast from here; and there are more movie theaters and Broadway theaters than most people can cope with during a single visit.

In my case, there was no need to try to see everything or experience everything in one swell foop; I simply thought it would be interesting to capture a cross-section of the visitors to this small part of the city in which I live. Once you've seen it all, you can decide for yourself if it's someplace you want to visit...
Urbanismo

¿Por qué peatonalizar? Porque ya no se fuma en los bares

El debate actual sobre el proceso de peatonalización que han iniciado algunas ciudades, y que por estas latitudes está teniendo polémica alrededor de las supermanzanas en Barcelona o la peatonalización de la Gran Vía en Madrid, mezcla en realidad dos […]

Serratosa, a favor de la ingeniería humanista
Ingeniería / Urbanismo

Serratosa, a favor de la ingeniería humanista

Albert Serratosa, como los grandes ingenieros de caminos de generaciones anteriores a la suya –Muñoz Oms, García Faria, Cerdá… pensaba que los ingenieros tenemos un compromiso social, que también es político, y humanístico: civilizar, construir un territorio ordenado, habitable para […]

Plaza de les Glorias Catalanas, la plaza que nunca ha funcionado como tal
Arquitectura / Paisajismo / Urbanismo

Plaza de les Glorias Catalanas, la plaza que nunca ha funcionado como tal

Hace ya bastante tiempo Jaume Guàrdia planteaba dos artículos referentes a la Plaza de las Glorias Catalanas de Barcelona, una patata caliente durante años para los políticos involucrados en temas de la planificación de la ciudad condal. En el primero habla […]

Panot de cuatro pastillas
Arquitectura / Urbanismo

¿Tiene el nuevo Panot Diagonal un buen diseño?

Con las obras de remodelación de la Diagonal de Barcelona se presentaba un nuevo elemento para la pavimentación, el Panot Diagonal. No entraré en los detalles pero en éste artículo anterior se pueden encontrar todos sus caraterísticas: http://www.dobooku.com/2014/11/diseno-y-avances-del-panot-diagonal/. Para quien […]

Diseño y avances del “Panot Diagonal”
Arquitectura / Urbanismo

Diseño y avances del “Panot Diagonal”

El pasado 9 de octubre, se comenzó a instalar en algunos tramos de la Avenida Diagonal el nuevo pavimento “Panot Diagonal” como consecuencia del proyecto de reurbanización que se está llevando a cabo. La colocación de estas nuevas piezas es un […]

Propuesta ganadora del concurso de la Plaza de las Glòries Catalanes
Paisajismo / Urbanismo

Así será la futura Plaza de las Glòries

Hace unos meses hablaba del Concurso de ideas puesto en marcha por el Ayuntamiento de Barcelona de la futura Plaza de las Glòries Catalanes. En éste artículo ya explicaba los condicionantes urbanísticos y constructivos de los que se parte. Después […]

Vista aérea actual de la Plaza de las Glòries Catalanes. Fuente: Ayuntamiento de Barcelona
Arquitectura / Paisajismo / Urbanismo

La nueva Plaza de las Glòries en Barcelona

En Barcelona está en marcha una de las grandes operaciones urbanísticas que tiene pendiente la ciudad, se trata la reordenación de la plaza de las Glòries Catalanes. La famosa plaza se sitúa en la intersección de tres vías de acceso […]