If you have ever stayed in New York City around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays you will know how absolutely magical the city can be. Not only are public spaces dressed up and shop windows festively decorated, events like the Santacon provide great entertainment, where a flash mob of Santas and gingerbread men take over the streets.
But this year has had unusually warm weather and New York City has made it clear that it is open for tourist business. New York City has created a network of walkable streets, emphasizing safety and comfort for pedestrians. As the New York Times observes nearly 354,000 pedestrians are in the Times Square area daily, a 6 percent increase from the same time last year.
And those people are international and local. As a spokesman for NYC & Company the city’s tourist authority states “Right after Christmas, the crowds tend to build in anticipation of New Year’s Eve. You’re getting a very strong mix of day trippers coming in from the tristate region, but you’re also getting a lot of international visitors coming for holidays.”
The city is so crowded with pedestrians that last Saturday the Brooklyn Bridge was closed briefly because of the size of the crowds trying to access the pedestrian and bike lanes. The bridge normally has 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cycling trips daily. Those crowds are everywhere, lining up for smoked meat sandwiches and waiting an hour to get access to Bryant Park to skate.
But despite all of this, New York City remains a place that puts an emphasis on walkability and accessibility all through the year. Quoting the New York City tourist authority spokesman:
“We welcome people any time of the year but we want to emphasize that New York City is open for business 365 days of the year. It’s not a consolation prize to visit New York City after the holidays.”