By Jill Colvin
MIDTOWN — The Great White Way is turning blue.
A new public art project is transforming the pedestrian plazas of Times Square into an urban river, an oasis with cool shocks of azure, navy and electric blue snaking their way along Broadway.
The stretch between 42nd and 44th streets is now open, and a full transformation all the way up to 47th Street is set to be completed by August 9.
But the colorful pavement is already drawing attention from curious passersby.
"Why are they painting the street blue?" asked a wide-eyed Danika Boyer, 13, visiting from Montreal, as she walked along Broadway, where a team of painters decked out in neon vests was busy at work, rolling bright sky blue paint between stenciled lines.
The design reminded Boyer of a "mishmash of the ocean," she said.
In fact, the design, by Brooklyn-based artist Molly Dilworth, is meant to look like a river.
Dilworth, 33, who beat out 150 other competitors for the chance to showcase her "Cool Water, Hot Island" design, said that the experience so far has been surreal.
"It's amazing," she said while taking a break from chalking outlines. "It's definitely the biggest painting I'll ever paint."
Larry Minto, 52, who lives in Staten Island but works in Midtown, gave the re-design a thumbs-up.
"They're trying to spruce the place up. I think it's pretty cool," he said, admiring the design.
But others just weren’t feeling the love.
"It seems like it’s a lot of work and I don’t know if it's worth it," said elevator technician Lance Aronowitz, 48, who lives in Brooklyn but works nearby. "It just doesn’t do anything to me."
The design is set to grace the square until the Department of Transportation begins construction of permanent pedestrian plazas by 2012.