Beyond the Topless, Times Square’s Very Success Breeds Hassles
September 2, 2015

Times Square’s topless women may be the least of its difficulties.

After New York tabloids made an issue of panhandling by the so-called desnudas and aggressive costumed cartoon characters, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed a task force to propose laws to subdue the garish agora for tourists, street performers, vendors and vagrants.

At stake are billions of dollars invested in real estate and the center of a $28 billion tourist industry. Publisher Conde Nast has already left, moving its 3,000 workers downtown. Others intend to follow and vacancies are on the rise. A strengthening dollar threatens foreign visitors’ spending, said NYC & Company, the city’s marketing office...

De Blasio has said he’d consider ripping out its $55 million granite-paved walkway to get rid of the beggars and vendors hawking DVDs, sight-seeing tours and shows. That suggestion brought instant opposition from Kafin and other stake holders such as the Durst Organization, which owns $3 billion worth of buildings in the area, and Transportation Alternatives, which seeks reduced car traffic...

Yet above the streets, there is disquiet. Real-estate data show a weakening demand in Times Square office space, according to Savills Studley, a commercial real-estate firm. Almost 13 percent of the district’s Class A office space was available in June, compared with about 6 percent in December 2013...

Beyond the Topless, Times Square’s Very Success Breeds Hassles

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