Securing the movable chairs.

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Uncategorized
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On my last post regarding movable chairs, Rick Lee asked about the security of the chairs at Times Square.  I posed the question to my LinkedIn colleagues and got this excellent response from Harriet Grimm, a New York City landscape architect:

Movable chairs are in use at Bryant Park and have become a signature element for the park used as Bryant Park Corporation’s logo. Similar movable tables and chairs are set up every morning in the closed sections on Broadway at Times Square, and numerous closed traffic triangles that have very quickly become small open park-like spaces such as triangle at 14th Street and 9th Avenue, Hudson Street at Chambers Street, at plaza areas near the State and Federal courthouses, and at park locations along the Hudson River Park.  These tables and chairs are ‘attended’.  Workers set them up in the AM; they are wiped down during the day; and are locked to a fence with a bicycle chain after dark.

Much of this is being done as part of a NYC Dept of Transportation “complete streets” initiative. See the DOT website: for numerous examples of initiatives including DOT’s program to encourage “pop up” cafes.

People are not ‘walking away’ from Times Square with chairs. Security at Times Square is very tight from an anti-terrorism stand point.  The space is closely monitored and the presence of brightly uniformed maintenance staff make it very unlikely that theft would be a serious problem. See:   Good luck with your study; and please visit NYC.

Things have not been so successful at the University of Wisconsin.  Gary Brown reports that the use of designer chairs (my words) have made them coveted prizes for students and alums and they have indeed “walked away”.  Gary recommends the use of more generic chairs that are not so tempting to take home.


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