MOSCOW, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Progress comes at a price in Moscow, observers say, and the price of new sidewalks is fewer women wearing 5-inch heels.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has pledged to make the Russian capital "more European," and he is making good on his pledge by having tile sidewalks installed, The New York Times reported.
The problem is shoddy workmanship, observers said, with gaps between the tile bricks that seem designed to snare spike heels.
"The saddest thing of all is that spike heels, which Moscow women wore in any weather, will most likely disappear into history," Nikolai Uskov, editor of the Russian edition of GQ magazine, wrote in a blog.
Many of the city's current sidewalks are comprised of asphalt, which can melt in the hot sun. A poll released last week showed 62 percent of those asked favored the new sidewalks.
"Heels fall between the seams," said Nadezhda Kodol, 25, wearing wedges as she walked past a torn-up sidewalk. "Thank God they haven't put down tile in all of Moscow yet."
Contrary to popular belief, the new sidewalk plan wasn't foisted on Muscovites by the wife of Moscow's previous mayor, Yuri M. Luzhkov, the report said. There was speculation his wife, billionaire Yelena Baturina, ordered the new sidewalks.
A Moscow newspaper said it investigated the claim Baturina ordered the new sidewalks, but found it to be untrue.