Janette Sadik-Khan, the former Commissioner of Transportation under Mayor Bloomburg, was instrumental in creating pedestrian plazas throughout the city. Besides becoming places where one might stop and rest or eat lunch, they have an impact on the movement of traffic — and therefore, NOISE.
here’s how an article from New York Magazine (available online) describes the pedestrian plazas constructed in midtown at Herald Square (by Macys) and at 42nd Street in Times Square as:
“This simple but dramatic act will amount to bypass surgery on the heart of New York. It will become the most visible component yet of Mayor Bloomberg’s citywide attempt to make New York’s streets calmer, greener, and safer. And it will establish the front lines of a growing movement to tilt the balance of asphalt power away from the automobile and toward cyclists and pedestrians.”