Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is it really that simple?

In a stroke of bizarrely kitsch urban/public development, New York City has planted 376 rubber folding chairs in the heart of Times Square.


I haven't had a double take this severe in ages, but despite your completely justifiable doubts, it's true. Here are all the facts you need to know:
  • Each chair, at ~$15 is 0.001% of the city's budget.
  • They've already made a t-shirt design for them (apparently still too obscure to warrant any pictures on Google Images)
  • Mayor Bloomberg says this kind of thing isn't going to happen again
  • The chairs are pink, blue and green.
Consider this: We have Times Square, one of the most crowded places in the galaxy, and the city want to give people a chance to sit down. So what do they decide to do? Put in beach chairs! Genius! Why overthink, why overplan, why overspend?

I'm partial to practical moves like this that break the mold, catch people off guard, and get lots of attention. And how apropos? It happens in media hungry NYC during a time when budgets are tight and spending tons of cash on expensive solutions isn't always an option.

Longevity? Sustainability? Not part of the equation, because the chairs will inevitably broken/stolen/run over by more fire trucks soon enough, but this is a bigger move than many people—especially Bloomberg, included—seem to think.

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