Although I have spent quite a bit of time walking in New York City I have never noticed the things pointed out in this article.
Thinking back on the last time I was there, it is true that aside from Central Park, the city did not seem to be extremely welcoming for folks to sit down and just relax.
Strips of sharp metal teeth, bars to divide benches, and fences etc. are being used in public areas.
These are all ways of saying “don’t make yourself at home” in public. This so-called hostile architecture has flourished in New York, even as the city has significantly added more public space in the last decade, including new plazas and parkland, pedestrian areas once used for cars and reclaimed industrial waterfront.
Proponents say this type of urban design is necessary to help maintain order, ensure safety and curb unwanted behavior such as loitering, sleeping or skateboarding.
But hostile architecture, in New York and other cities, has increasingly drawn a backlash from critics who say that such measures are unnecessary and disproportionately target vulnerable populations. They have assailed what they call “anti-homeless spikes” for targeting those who have nowhere else to go at a time when many cities are grappling with a homelessness crisis.
So, next time you are walking in NYC keep your eyes open for "hostile architecture" and let folks know what you think. Are the metal bars on benches to stop skateboarders from damaging the wood or are they there to prevent folks from lounging or sleeping?