Times Square is the main square of New York and one of the main attractions of the USA, where millions of tourists are eager to go. Shopping malls, famous publishers, boutiques of famous brands – everything the most vivid and popular is concentrated here. No wonder the second name of Times Square is “Crossroads of the World”. Every year, Times Square is visited by 40 million tourists. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of people gather on the square to celebrate the New Year and other bright events.
The Ups and Downs of the New York's main square
The history of Times Square lasts a little more than 100 years, but during this time a lot of events happened here.
In the mid-19th century, the area was called Longacre Square - it was lively, but was of particular interest. However, in the early 20th century, the Times Building was built here (the project of the architect Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz). At that time, the skyscraper was the second tallest erection after Flatiron Building – it had 25 floors with the height of 120 meters. Here in 1904 from the Park Row (a quarter of newspapermen), the editorial office of the New York Times moved. That’s where the name “Times Square” comes from.
The look of Times Square and the Times Building in 1904
Within a month, the first advertising sign appears on the square - today advertisement is one of the hallmarks of this place. In 1913, the newspaper moved to another building, and the skyscraper was renamed, and from now it was called the Allied Chemical Building.
Times Square, 1938
In 1996 and 2008, the building was rebuilt and renamed again - now called 1 Times Square. The history of the skyscraper deserves a separate story. But let’s back to the square.
Times Square and Skyscraper 1 Times Square, 2017
In 1913, the construction of the first American transcontinental route had begun, which runs through the whole territory of America. This was due to the fact that by that time there were already 1.3 million cars in the US. Three years earlier, a group of enthusiasts proposed a project to create a unified US road system, which was called the Lincoln Highway. The government supported the project and the starting point for the construction was the intersection of 42 nd Street and Broadway in New York. However, the coming war frustrated the plans, but later the construction of the route was brought to an end. The highway stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast, passing through 13 states - its length is 5454 kilometers.
By the thirties, Times Square had become a cultural center of New York with a huge number of restaurants, theaters, and hotels. By the way, almost all the hotels in New York, built in the early 20th century, continue to work today, for example, the five-star hotel The Knickerbocker. Because of the economic crisis that broke out during that period, known in history as the Great Depression, Times Square had become one of the most criminogenic places in the city. And it lasted another ten years. After the Second World War, the square again became a public and cultural place. For the record, on the Day of Victory over Japan (August 14, 1945), a photograph was taken in Times Square, where an American sailor Glenn McDuffy kisses a nurse Edith Shane. The photo belongs to the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt and was published in the journal Life.
In the 60s - 70s, Times Square had undergone a decay one more time. Tourists avoided this place, as there was a number of drug dens, and various bandit groups were at work. For a couple of decades, the theater avenue turned into a quarter of sex shops and erotic cinemas.
In the 1980s, several developers decided to reconstruct the area, and the works on the redevelopment of the tower had begun here. Rudolph Giuliani, who became mayor of New York in 1994, saved the district from criminals. During the period of his work (from 1994 to 2001) the square again gained popularity and became a heart of the city. In the early 90's, the Walt Disney brand store was opened here that attracted kids and their parents to the square. This period in the history of Times Square is known as Disneyfication. Since then, more and more neon advertisements and LCD panels had appeared in the area. This is exactly what we see today in Times Square.
Until 2009, Times Square was a big transport hub, however, it was calculated that percentage of car accidents is much and much higher here than on the other streets of the city. Moreover, pedestrians made 90% (!) of the total traffic in the district, so because of this, it was decided to reconstruct Times Square, making the main part of it as a pedestrian zone. The redevelopment works ended in 2016, $55 million was spent on reconstruction. Surprisingly, after blocking off the square, a road collapse did not happen but car accidents on the adjacent streets have fallen by 10 times.
Times Square, 2017
What is situated on Times Square
One of the most popular buildings of the square is the 1501 Broadway (Paramount Building). Once there was a theater where such artists as Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Frank Sinatra gave concerts. Over time, the theater was closed, and the building itself is now a business center.
Another attraction that should be visited, being on the main square of New York, is the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, built in 2000. A 10-story building was erected for the museum, where today you can see more than 200 wax figures of celebrities. Unlike the London "brother", in the New York Museum of Madame Tussauds, the exhibits are on open access (except for the figure of Hitler, as once a visitor headed it off, and after that incident, a wax fuhrer was placed behind the glass).
The Theater District is the must-see place, which stretches from 40 th to 54 th Street and has 41 theaters. Collectively, this road is called Broadway. The Broadway performances in their majority are musicals, which are so loved by Americans. Like Hollywood, Broadway makes a huge impact on the development of the mass culture.
You cannot get around the red stairs in Times Square, built in 2008. The stares serve as a booth, where tickets for Broadway shows are sold. The construction is made of high-strength glass and consists of 27 steps. The steps are highlighted around the clock with a city-light TKTS near the stairs. The red stairs can be found on Duffy Square in the northern part of Times Square.
Also in the Times Square there are ABC and MTV channel offices, popular Sardi's and Keens Steakhouse restaurants, Disney Store, M&M's World, Midtown Comics, Forever 21, Levi`s and many others.
Walking up the Times Square, go to Central Park for a rest - one of the largest parks in the United States, its area is 341 hectares.
New Year Celebration on Times Square and the Ball
The New Year’s Eve on Time Square is a great flash of emotions and an incredible atmosphere of the holiday. The most anticipated moment in the New Year's Eve is the descent of The Crystal Ball. This tradition exists since 1907, which was founded by Adolf Oaks. Every year on December 31 at 11:59 pm local time, all eyes of 1 million spectators are focused on the flagstaff on the 1 Times Square building, where from the 23-meter height descends the Ball. Its weight is 5 tons, and its diameter is 3.6 meters.
On the video you can see the Ball and the atmosphere on Times Square during the New Year’s Eve:
Location of Times Square
The square is located in the middle of Manhattan where 7 Avenue is crossed with Broadway, and it includes 6 quarters between 42 nd and 47 th Streets.
How to Get
There is a complex of subway stations Times Square - 42nd Street, from which there are exits to Broadway, 42nd Street and 7th Avenue. This interchange hub unites several lines.
You can also reach the square by one of the buses: M7, M34A, M20, M42, M104, X17, X22, X30, X31.
Webcams on Times Square
If you would like to get to Times Square at least virtually, please visit the webcam.
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