Mayor Michael Bloomberg cut a ribbon Monday for the completion of the first phase of the permanent pedestrian plaza, opening up Broadway between 42nd and 43rd Streets. It will eventually take the new Times Square plaza all the way up to 47th Street.
"Without worrying about traffic people can come for entertainment or for a stroll," said Bloomberg. "They can sit down and relax, they can also keep shopping. And since we started remaking Times Square four years ago it has become one of the ten most successful retail destinations in the world."
But construction continues in other areas, forcing people to walk around work zones.
The plan will eventually transform the painted asphalt in the current pedestrian plaza, but ripped up curbs in the area mean the sidewalks won't look too pretty for New Year's Eve.
All construction will stop between December 27 and New Year's Day.
The$40 million project, with improvements above and below ground, won't be finished until 2015.
Stores have complained that the work is hurting business a bit, narrowing the way to their entrances, but the mayor says that the payoff is worth it in the end.