Interview Highlights

– “Hey look, this is Times Square. Quirky is fine, but creepy is not…Some commercial activity is fine but let’s not let it overwhelm civic activities.”

– The Times Square Alliance conducted a survey of those who work in Times Square and found 60 percent of them said that they have had an “unpleasant interaction with either a solicitor or a costumed performer where they really felt intruded upon in a negative way.”

–  On the recent proposal to segment areas of Times Square for costumed characters and other solicitors: “We think it strikes the right balance between Times Square being a place of freedom of expression and creative activity, but not being a free-for-all – and that was the problem.” 

– There’s places where people are soliciting money in exchange for having their picture taken. That’s all right. It’s part of Times Square — it’s a town square, it’s a public square. But we don’t want to be overwhelmed by it, so there are going to be certain designated areas where that happens, we just needed to make sure that there were enough spaces for the flow of the many New Yorkers who are just trying to get through Times Square and don’t necessarily want to be approached by someone trying to hit them up for money.”

– “It’s (Times Square) always been a bellwether for how people feel about the overall trajectory of New York City. So when Times Square was dirty and dangerous, New York City was perceived to be dirty and dangerous. When it was making a comeback, that made a difference, in the last couple of years, when people started seeing more aggressive anti-social behavior in Times Square, it touched a nerve.”

About Tim Tompkins

Tim Tompkins has been the President of the Times Square Alliance since 2002. The Alliance is a business improvement district that works to improve and promote Times Square – cultivating the creativity, energy and edge that have made the area an icon of entertainment, culture and urban life for over a century.  Prior to coming to the Alliance, he was the Founder and Director of Partnerships for Parks, which works to support New York City’s neighborhood parks. He has worked at New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, The New York City Charter Revision Commission, and was briefly the Nationals Editor at the Mexico City News, an English language newspaper in Mexico.  He has an undergraduate degree from Yale and an M.B.A. from Wharton, and currently teaches a class on Urban Economic Development at the NYU Wagner School.

To hear John CATS upcoming roundtable radio shows, tune in at 9 AM New York time every Sunday morning on 970 AM Radio: The Answer! Can’t get to a radio? Listen in online! The show is live at www.am970theanswer.com at 9 AM New York time every Sunday morning. Thanks for listening!