Photo by myself in Union Square.
People walked around with their eyeballs and ears glued to their phones the other day, in Union Square.
This large, informal open area is host to many impromptu gatherings. You can find musical performances, hackey-sack contests and political protests here. In the background above, a large group jumps rope.
Among scheduled events are the Farmer's Market on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. During the holiday season, vendors set up special carts for their goods.
How are the parks and open spaces kept so clean, and how are formal events organized?
New York is divided up into 'BID's, or Business Improvement Districts. Businesses and buildings in each neighborhood contribute money to non-profit groups that that maintain the open spaces and activities.
Each neighborhood has its own decorations during the holidays, its own style of trash cans and signage. Lower Manhattan's Downtown Alliance was instrumental in getting people back into the neighborhood after 9/11. Lower Manhattan has its own distinctive street signs and maps.
The 34th Street area has internally lit street signs. The differences are subtle from neighborhood to neighborhood, but if you look closely, you will notice that each neighborhood has its own identity.
When open park areas are kept well-planted and maintained, people use these areas. Nice public spaces means more foot traffic for businesses, and so on.
BIDs are located in all five boroughs of New York City, not just Manhattan. There are 64 BIDs in all, which include everything from Union Square and Times Square, to Long Island City, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
For more about the Business Improvement Districts and links to each of them, click here.
Thanks for the nice comments regarding yesterday's post. It's been nice seeing my family, though I wish the circumstances were better.
Related posts: The Curse of the First Born, Texting, Schmexting and People Watching, Union Square.