Broadway vs. Pedicabs – The New Yorker

This article discusses the growing issues in Times Square related to the use of music-blaring pedicabs. Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance, has observed a rise in problematic behaviors by pedicab drivers, particularly around theatres. They are known to block streets, play loud music, and engage in predatory pricing, with some charging exorbitant rates. The NYPD recently seized seventy-seven illegal pedicabs in a sting operation.

Local businesses like the Glass House Tavern have complained about pedicabs causing safety issues and being rude to their staff. There’s a significant noise problem, with amplified music from pedicabs audible even during theatre performances, leading to complaints from Broadway actors and requests for stricter enforcement of regulations by city councilman Erik Bottcher.

The pedicabs often play music that clashes with the theatrical atmosphere, affecting shows like “The Cottage,” “A Beautiful Noise,” and “Gutenberg! The Musical!”. The issue is particularly problematic for shows like “How to Dance in Ohio,” which caters to audiences with sensory issues. Producer Fiona Rudin has expressed concern about the impact of loud pedicab music on these audiences.

Efforts to mitigate the issue include setting up barricades to move the pedicabs and attempts to get drivers to lower their music volume. However, compliance has been an issue. The article also highlights the story of Mustafa, a licensed pedicab driver who faces challenges due to unlicensed competitors and is considering leaving the business due to the hostile environment. The situation exemplifies the broader challenges faced in managing the bustling and diverse environment of Times Square.

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