Forget the surreal prospect of a trafficless Times Square. Never mind the progressive transportation agenda.
The scene-stealing star of the city’s newly opened, $1.5 million pedestrian plaza project may be its fleet of folding lawn chairs, humble refugees from the Ace Hardware catalog that have colonized the Broadway pavement.
In candy-stripe shades of pink, blue and green, the 376 rubber folding chairs and loungers are an unlikely import from the sphere of suburban swimming pools and budget trips to the beach. Average purchase price: about $15 apiece, or 0.001 percent of the project’s total budget.
Since their Memorial Day debut, the chairs have quickly entered the zeitgeist, earning criticism from the mayor and wonderment from pedestrians, who have pronounced them both tacky and endearing. The obligatory merchandise tie-in has already appeared: a pair of local designers produced a T-shirt that replaces the heart in “I ♥ New York” with a lounge chair. A few dozen have already sold.
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