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A Christmas wish list for New York City

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We’ve been a (mostly) good city, but these eight things would make NYC better in 2020

Alyssa Nassner

Dear Santa,

How’s it going? It’s pretty cold here in New York; hope you’re staying warm out there.

Since we’re just a couple of days away from Christmas, we wanted to make sure you saw our wish list for New York City for the new year. We were pretty good this year: East New York got a huge, cool park; buildings are going to be more bird-friendly; and even more people are going to get half-priced MetroCards now.

But there are some things that would make New York City even better in 2020.

More busways. Have you ridden the M14 in the past couple of months? (We know, a reindeer-pulled sleigh is your primary mode of transport, but it was worth asking.) The experience is much more pleasant now that the busway has been realized; it’s time to roll them out to even more major thoroughfares around the five boroughs. We already have some suggestions!

More affordable housing that’s actually affordable. While the de Blasio administration has made huge strides in creating more affordable housing, more needs to be done to ensure that it’s meeting the needs of the poorest New Yorkers. (If that means building much denser housing, or upzoning neighborhoods that could accommodate more apartment buildings, so be it.)

Make NYC’s streets safer. This has been a terrible year for pedestrians and cyclists. There have been 215 traffic fatalities in 2019; 29 cyclists have been killed. Let’s put an end to this by designing streets that are safer, creating more protected bike lanes, pedestrianizing busy neighborhoods, and—heck, we can dream—banning cars from Manhattan.

Ban cars from Times Square. Okay, okay—if we can’t do all of Manhattan, how about Times Square? The city’s Department of Transportation has already experimented with car-free streets, notably by closing two miles of Broadway on Earth Day and with its wildly popular Summer Streets program. Why not just make Times Square entirely car free? Snøhetta’s recent revamp was a good start; let’s take it a step or three further, and make the clogged space safer and more pleasant.

Bring back Citi Bike’s pedal-assist bikes. Because we want to bike over the city’s bridges with ease once again. (And while you’re at it, can you get the city to ease up on overpolicing the delivery workers who use e-bikes?)

No more nine-digit listings. Seriously, how many $100 million apartments does one city need? Can’t the era of outlandish housing that’s created exclusively for billionaires be over already?

Make more public spaces accessible. And by that we mean any space the public uses, whether that’s the subway, the street, public buildings, or even shawarma-shaped sculptures.

…And open more off-limits spaces to the public. Hey, we can dream about Gramercy Park becoming a truly public space, can’t we? (Same goes for the Woolworth Building lobby, or the New York State Pavilion in Queens.)