The gangs of tourists roaming around from one set of patio furniture to the next in our new extra pedestrian-friendly Gotham are not only getting to enjoy some R&R for free, they're also getting to take in interactive displays informing them what the latest cable offerings are without the nuisance of clicking on a TV or flipping through a magazine. That's because we're now learning that the city has been quietly been pocketing money from advertisers and other private groups wanting to set up camp in the new pedestrian plazas. Officials have yet to deny one permit for companies who want to stage events in the plazas for fees as high as $38,500 that go into the city's general fund. No one would comment on whether the revenue potential was a factor in its plan for a car-free Broadway, but a spokesman did emphasize that unclogging traffic was its primary motivation. The Project for Public Spaces sounds generally supportive of the extra attraction that the paid events bring to the plazas, but one person lounging got demanding with who gets them, saying, “Would I have Mariah Carey here performing? Probably not.”
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