When you visit Times Square, you’ll see the bright lights, get squished by hundreds of tourists, and maybe even catch a glimpse of some foul-mouthed Elmo or the Naked Cowboy. Until recently, you could also see the New York Police Department jail.
When people used to get too drunk and loud and cops weren’t in the mood to fight traffic for a jaunt to the precinct, they’d haul the lush into the small Times Square jail.
And now, it’s gone. Ironically, it’s the NYPD’s fault. But, that’s not a bad thing.
According to the New York Post, the NYPD is spending $3.5 million on a remodeling project of the single-cell, 1,000-square-foot facility to make it more of a Times Square visitor center hosted by the NYPD.
In 1993, the NYPD were forced to add the jail cell to help quell a crime peak in the city. But now, who needs it?
“Fortunately, things have changed dramatically in Times Square,” said deputy commissioner of management and budget Vincent Grippo. “We don’t view Times Square as a high-crime area, certainly not the types of crimes we were looking at decades ago.”
Based on NYPD metrics, Times Square had 1/10 of the number of violent crimes it saw in 1994 that it currently sees a decade later. And so, tourism.
“It could have some historical items showcasing the police department’s history, showcasing what it is the police department does,” Grippo said. “It could be an opportunity a tourist or a New Yorker would have to come and sort of get a better sense of what the police department does and provide them with the opportunity to interact directly with officers.”
Hats off to the NYPD. Enjoy it while it lasts.
[PHOTO: AP via New York Post]