The New Yorker has a Talk of the Town piece about the new street furniture the city hopes to roll out over the next few years. Last fall, the city signed a billion dollar deal with Cemusa for new newsstands, bus shelters and public toilets, and the designs are definitely sleek and futuristic. Which raises the New Yorker's question.
But what of the newsstands? Like a man’s beloved—and ripped, and stained—football-watching chair, the corner newsstand as we know it, stuffed to the point of bursting, and jerry-rigged with duct tape, milk crates, Igloo coolers, bungee cords, and dangling light bulbs, has never failed to provide homey comfort, whether on Sunday afternoon (you got your Post and your Doritos) or Monday morning (your Journal, Diet Coke, and some eyedrops). By comparison, the new, standardized fleet, built of modular stainless steel and aluminum—“so you won’t see the institutional browns and dark greens that you tend to see now,” [new street furniture designer Duncan] Jackson said—are straight from Ikea.
Ikea - ouch! Sleek and stainless steel could be awesome in the kitchen, but Gothamist thinks we prefer the overloaded newsstand. One newsstand vender lamented the new designs because there's less room for candy and no ability to hang magazines from binder clips. Hear that magazine publishers - there's limited space for your magazines to be displayed. No more rogues' gallery of celebrity breakups news, no more excessive Maxim/FHM pinups...wait, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how the newsstands are maintained or modified given the market demand (cardboard box extension, anyone?).
Photograph at top from Susan NYC; new Cemusa newsstand photograph from the Department of Transportation