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Cleaned up or Disneyfied? You decide!
Despite its name this is not actually a square, but rather two triangles, the upper one inverted so that they meet point to point. This odd shape is formed by errant Broadway, which here crosses Seventh Avenue at a diagonal. In fact, the northern triangle is more properly called Duffy Square, but everyone appears to refer to the whole of this space as Times Square.
Whether you come by day, as we did, or by night, Times Square is ablaze with neon and to me seems a little incongruous and out of keeping with the rest of the city. It’s cleaned up its act in recent years and is no longer considered unsafe, although as in any crowded area you should keep an eye open for pickpockets. Despite this clean up however, it’s still a bit scruffy and somewhat tacky. Nevertheless, somehow you have to see it!
A quick look at the history of Times Square will tell you that it has often something of a dubious reputation. At the end of the 19th century it was still known by its original name of Longacre Square, and was the haunt of prostitutes and petty thieves. The arrival of several theatres in the district and the renaming of the square (prompted by the New York Times, which had opened a new headquarters here) stimulated a revival and for a while this became the entertainment centre of the city. It was at this time that the New Year’s Eve tradition of the famous ball drop ceremony, which sees thousands of people congregate here and millions watching on TV, started. But with the Great Depression the theatres began to close. Many became cinemas, but this didn’t prevent the area declining again into a crime and vice hotspot. By the 1960s this was almost a no-go area, unless you were interested in frequenting the live nude shows, erotic bookstores, and X-rated movie houses that surrounded the square. Crime rocketed, and by the time of our previous visit in 1982 we were being warned to be very careful around here and not to linger – I remember standing briefly on a street corner to take a couple of photos before hurriedly tucking the cameras out of sight and heading back to “safety”.
It was in the 1980s however that Times Square began again to clean up its act, and today as I said it is considered as safe as anywhere else in midtown Manhattan. Part of the change is what has been called the “Disneyfication” of Times Square. Today you can shop in a Toys R Us or at the giant M & Ms store before taking in a matinee of Disney's The Lion King. Opinion is split as to whether or not this is a good thing, but what is certain is that the area is now a popular draw for tourists and out-of-towners, as well as New Yorkers heading for a show, and as such can again consider itself as the heart of New York’s Theatre District.
Times Square ~ "Crossroads of the World"
Manhattan's "Times Square" is undoubtedly the heart of New York City. And, the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue is the heart of Times Square itself. Although Times Square may officially include the area from 42nd to 47th Streets and 6th to 9th Avenue, the triangle created at Broadway & 7th is the vortex for more than 1 million visitors each year as they marvel at a place unlike any other on earth. The place radiates energy and nearly overwhelming visual stimulation because of the magnitude of the electronic joy of neon, digital screens, and marquis signage.
The X-shaped area created by the intersection of 2 famous streets is the area where thousands enjoy the legendary "New Year's Eve" celebration when the famous, sparkling, Waterford Crystal ball is lowered atop the former Times Tower (now called One Times Square) during the countdown to midnight and the beginning of a new year! This celebration is broadcast all over the world!
There are mega stores, restaurants, shops, and many attractions located within steps of this central part of Times Square---the Theater District, Bryant Park, 42nd Street, Radio City Music Hall, etc. Don't miss the statue of George M. Cohan, a man famous in theater circles and for his Broadway and patriotic songs.
It is difficult to imagine that this area, now throbbing with life, was once called "Longacre Square" and was surrounded with farm land. Longacre Square was renamed "Times Square" in 1904 when the New York Times Newspaper moved its operations to a new building there and the name and the place have been iconic ever since, and not always for the glamour of nightlife. Times Square went through many undistinguished years when it was considered seedy and dangerous. I am glad to say that it is now a place that no one should miss visiting.
Unfortunately, Times Square has lately been in the news for the failed attempt to bomb it by radicals (Spring, 2010). Still it is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA.
The crossroads of the world
Lights, crowds, advertisements, energy. That's how I could resume standing on one of the busiest intersections in Manhattan, also known as "The crossroads of the world" - between Broadway, 42nd street to 47th streets and 6th and 7th avenues. Be it night or day, you'll be dazzled by the lights, you could find a deal for that theater show you want to see, go shopping or simply sit down on one of their tables and enjoy the free wifi.
Times Square is one of the traditional places for New Yorkers to welcome the new year, with the ball drop at midnight.
Because there are so many people coming and going, be careful of your valuables.
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Times Square...oh my goodness!!!!
We had saved this place for last as we both thought that at night time it would look a lot more impressive with all the lights, and boy were we right! It was incredible! Again, like the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero, we both thought it would be a lot larger, but maybe we've just got it stuck in our heads that EVERYTHING in the States is HUGE!!!! Apart from the size though, it was the noise...it was like Leicester Square times one million....!Lights so bright you thought you were walking there during the daytime, noise from different radio stations and news corporations blaring out of the speakers, people EVERYWHERE and of course the NYPD! We found that there was a large force of them dotted all around the city, and I dont know if this is helping crime come down, or if they are there because crime is up?!
The amount of photos we took was incredible, and I dont know if they came out well or not as I havent checked them yet, but the place was staggeringly amazing! I dont know if the locals go there at all, but there were so many people and it was so exciting. It also started to snow a little bit which was perfect for me as I always think about being in New York in the winter when its snowing!Unfortunately it was bitterly cold and I had to go on a hand drier search pretty quick!
There are all kinds of shops round there all mainly geared towards the tourist mind you, but aside from those, there was a Virgin Megastore and several comedy clubs and of course the broadway theatres. There's a 'tkts' booth which Im sure you've all heard about where you can buy your tickets to go see shows at a reduced price. I didnt go to see a show but I did pass by the 'tkts' booth and saw that most shows had a 35%-50% reduction on them, so it is well worth going there to have a look.
Don't be a sucker.
If you really have to walk around Times Square, just be aware that this is a haven for street hustlers. Stay around 42nd and 7th thru 52nd and 7th. 8th Ave is sleazy with gangs, peep shows, topless bars, and people trying to get money from you. Port Authority (42nd and 8th Ave) is the worst to walk by. Always some piece of garbage guy standing around observing targets to molest or rub or hustle. My best advice for anyone not from New York City who wants to walk around Times Square is to be aware, don't stare, don't act afraid, be cool and try to act like you've been there and done that. Ignore everyone who approaches you in the street for something. I mean that. Sometimes it's just a trap. Ignore them. You don't have to be nice and smile and say no or yes to whatever it is that they are asking you. Just keep walking and wipe the dirt off your shoulders. Move on. You didn't come here for some lame unfunny comedy club tickets, to donate something for some irresistable cause, to give some bum a dollar or nickel, discuss for an hour of your time about becoming a Jehovah's Witness, buy fake gold, help some bum pretending he needs $3.50 to get home, or fall prey to some BS scheme . Only take a yellow cab. Don't get ripped off (overcharged) by the crooks who drive the town cars. The moment they tell you how incredible and difficult it is to get anywhere without them, give them the ol'Bronx cheer (figuratively speaking). Walk away from them. say "that's okay. no thanks. " They don't need to know your business. Many of these cabbies (even the ones in yellow cabs) ask you questions because they want to feel you out. "Oh so you here on vacation?"- this means if you are, I will take you an extra 12 blocks the wrong way to jack up the price on the meter. "I know a good place, you can go" means -I will drive you all over and around New York not 'cause I'm nice but because I think you are a sucker and I can make a fortune off of you. "oh is this all I get as a tip?" means can I suck up more money out of you even though you've tipped me generously already.
Oh the Madness!
Many trains (Q, W, R, N, 1, 2, 3, 7) go to 42nd St Times Square which is where the action happens. Times Square is one of the biggest tourist traps of all Manhattan but it’s a must see. As a local, I still enjoy going to Times Square because the lights and the atmosphere is thrilling. Around Times Square you can visit a Broadway show, go to one of the thousand restaurants, ESPN zone, street performers, museums.. so many things that you can spend an entire day just in Times Square.
Walking around on the streets in Times Square can be hard because of the million other people that are going to the same spot. Be careful and watch your belongings since there are people that are looking for the ones that have open pockets, loose bags, and so on.
If you have, give a street performer your loose change because most of them are amazing at what they do.
Be smart and enjoy your self :)
Another "known from the TV"-image: Times Square.
During daytime, it's not that spectacular, so go once the darkness set in. I was there several times and during the weekend it is indeed way too crowded, but on a Monday evening, it was ok.
You just can't help but staring at the lights, video clips, publicity, ... passing by.
- Theater Travel
What a difference Times Square has become compared to it’s once seeded past. It was once considered the place you never wanted to venture down to because of the very high crime and pornographic shops. Times Square got it name by the New York Times building that graces the area in 1904. It is during this same year that it started to become tradition for fellow New Yorkers to gather and celebrate New Years Eve. Yet as years past, it has become a very wealthy place for businesses and people to be. Times Square gets 26 million annual visitors each year and has 27,000 residents that live there all ready.
Wow, is the first word out of my mouth when we made our trek onto the streets from the coach bus. I have to admit it was sensory overload with all the people, lights, traffic, noise, and all those tacky billboards were just amazing……..lol!
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- Arts and Culture
Times Square by Day
Every tourist to New York has to go there to check out the neon signs, the crowds, the lights. I was no exception.
Our first visit to Times Square was early morning, and most of the crowds seemed to be people on their way to work.
We were happy to see the neon signs, stock market figures, and filming of Good Morning America in a street front studio.
We were glad to have stopped by for some photos, but decided to come back at night to really see things lit up.
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Enjoy the magic of Times Square
Times Square was "born" in 1906 with the construction of the New York Times building. As theatres and restaurants opened up along Broadway, Times Square enjoyed quite a few years of popularity until the economic crisis that hit the country in the 1930s changed the picture and the vocation of the neighborhood. Seedy clubs and peepshows took over the area, turning it into a place most people avoided except maybe on New Year's, for the giant ball drop. In the 1990s, plans were made to "clean up" Times Square, and have proven to be surprinsingly successful. Today, Times Square is a safe area, its theatres are popular again, and many companies such as Toys R' Us, Disney, Hershey's and M&M's have opened up larger-than-life stores, turning the place into a paradise for the young at heart! On top of all the shopping, there's always some kind of entertainment going on at Times Squares: chances are you'll run into the famous naked cowboy, some Disney characters, and hilarious street performers. If you're not afraid of crowds, don't miss the experience of walking around Times Square at night. If that doesn't make you feel like you've made it to NYC, then nothing will!
- Family Travel
watch out the naked cowboy!
As we were walking along the busy Times Square, we spotted a naked man in the middle of the streets. A muscular, brooding man in tighty whities with a guitar. People yelling, whistling, clapping and others shouting "I love you baby"! Almost everyone stopped to look. For a tourist, a nice photo with him isn't bad......but missed it.
The Naked Cowboy is Robert John Burck, a pisces born from Ohio. He is a New York City street performer and a fixture in Times Square. Also known to some parts of the world.
Times Square by Night
After our visit during the day, we popped back to Times Square at night to see how it looked all lit up.
It was so bright it kind of looked like day again!!
It was a hive of activity and flashing neon signs.
After a look around and some photos we got away from there in search of somewhere a little classier....
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Madness in the heart of NYC!
Ok so this is one of the main sights that comes to mind when you think of New York.....and you can't come without seeing the place, but I have to be honest the appeal of the place soon wanes - particularly at 4pm on a saturday afternoon.
If you are going with kids keep tight hold of them as it is very easy to get lost in the crowds and watch out for the tourists dragging suitcases on wheels through the streets and over your feet (or maybe I was just incredibly unlucky!)
Everywhere round here is soooo busy - wouldn't recommend eating here - you can go to a TGI fridays anyway (or other chains) so why come all the way to this great city to do what you can do at home?
One thing i would recommend is walking to the top of the stairs (you will see then when you walk into the main area!) you can get some great shots of the place from up here.
Times Square is one of the famous attractions at Manhattan’s Midtown and you will probably pass from there many times. For many years I thought it was a square but in fact it’s a major intersection in the middle of Manhattan.
The neon lights of the animated digital advertisements are impressive and that’s why make it so popular among visitors but the masses of tourists are too annoying and there were times that I couldn’t even walk! There were many police officers around and most of the times I asked them for directions! lol Times Square took its name from Times Building (the former offices of The New York Times).
Around Times Square you will find many of the Broadway theatrers but I didn’t visit any of them. The Toshiba billboard is probably the most famous attraction but also the NASDAQ sign. There are also many hotels and nightclubs. I only visited one, BBKING club that has live music every night. Many famous American brands for food like Mac, Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock café etc are here but I preferred some more peaceful small Deli restaurants in other district. The Madame Tussuand museum is also here.
Most of the tourists go there on New Year’s Eve to see the annual crystal ball drop. The locals are somewhere else that night :)
Times Square at night.
Times Square comes to life at night. Just stand still for a minute and look around you. I find it incredible to view this area of lights, people, and the whole atmosphere. I’ve seen it a lot of times, but it is always different and never boring to look at. Many people will recommend this spot, and I thought, should I add it to my “must see activity”, well the answer is yes! The more people that go there, the more I can watch and enjoy. Come on everybody, let’s go to Times Square. Love it as much as I love it. Even if it’s freezing cold, the lights give me a warmth feeling.
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