Times Square is a plaza in the heart of Manhattan on the corner of Broadway, 42nd Street, and Seventh Avenue. The Theatrical District, which includes Times Square, is located approximately between Sixth and Eighth avenues to the east and west and between Forty-first and Fifty-third streets to the south and north.
That Times Square is often referred to as “the center of the globe” is not an exaggeration. One of the most famous tourist locations in the world, it attracts an average of 300,000 visitors per day and up to a million on New Year’s Eve. The lights of Times Square, which is located in Midtown, the physical center of Manhattan, are so brilliant that they can be seen from outer space.
You can sense the bustling activity of the crowds in Times Square, and it can even feel like the heartbeat of New York City. The five blocks from 42nd Street to 47th Street are the epicenter of Broadway’s lights, commerce, personalities, and marquees.
It’s safe to say that if you only have time to explore one location in Manhattan, make it New York Times Square. It is impossible to visit the city without passing through the plaza known as the Crossroads of the World, which features dozens of bright LED displays and strange figures and is where the vast majority of the city’s photos are taken.
Until former mayor Rudy Giuliani and Disney came along in 1990s, Times Square wasn’t anything to write about. Now, however, it is a veritable light and building show.
Follow these guidelines, and you, too, will be able to find your way around the City That Never Sleeps, the heart of the Entire universe.
- Address: Manhattan, NY 10036, United States.
The history of Times Square in NY, USA
Long Acre (also spelled Longacre) Square was a business and residential neighborhood in the early nineteenth century, but by the 1890s, it had gained a bad reputation as a hub for criminal activity. In 1904, the plaza was renamed Times Square after the nearby Times Tower became home to The New York Times (though it would outgrow them by 1913).
The plaza quickly became the gathering spot for New Yorkers to ring in the New Year. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the Times has, since 1907, lowered a massive glass ball down its shaft. The ball descent in Times Square has evolved into a high-tech extravaganza over the years, with live TV coverage bringing the event to tens of millions of viewers across the country.
Numerous prestigious theaters opened on 42nd Street at the turn of the 20th century, and by the second decade of the century, Times Square and the surrounding Broadway area had become probably the most famous entertainment district in the country, thanks in large part to the square’s central location and the fact that a large station for the newly constructed subway was situated beneath it.
As a result of its strategic location at the time, it became known as the “Crossroads of the World.” As time went on, the name “Broadway” itself became virtually associated with American theater, particularly musical theater.
During the height of the Great Depression, many of the legitimate theaters on Time Square were forced to shut down and were subsequently transformed into movie theaters. There was a steady decline in the area’s cleanliness throughout the 20th century.
In the 1960s and 1970s, it became a hub for seedy sexual amusement and was once again plagued by crime. It is commonly believed that Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s efforts and the Disney Company’s financial investment in the area led to Time Square’s revival in the 1990s, when numerous large shops, theaters, and eateries catered specifically to tourists.
After the introduction of neon signs in 1920s, Times Square quickly gained popularity as the premier American location for innovations in large, colorful electric signage and advertising. The Times “zipper,” which first appeared in 1928, used approximately 14,800 lightbulbs to show scrolling titles.
A number of the most well-known billboards in the plaza featured a giant coffee cup from which actual steam emanated and a guy enjoying a cigarette while exhaling smoke rings created by the steam. Tenants in Times Square structures have been legally compelled to show eye-catching signs since the late 20th century, so the area has remained a vibrant, never-ending visual extravaganza.
What to do in Times Square
Everywhere you look in Times Square, you’ll see a billboard or marquee advertising a Broadway play. Going to a Broadway show is among the most common things to do in this city. In fact, the total earnings of all Broadway productions exceed those of all New York City sports organizations. Since you can only visit them in New York City, they are inevitably among the most famous tourist destinations in the world.
There are presently 41 theaters in Times Square, all of which are ready to entertain you with world-class performances by some of the greatest performers and musicians in the world. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can’t be missed by visitors to New York City.
Times Square also features some of the most unique shops and tourist destinations in the world, with something to offer to everyone. The M&M’s shop and Hershey’s Chocolate World in Times Square each have more sweets than a person could possibly consume in a lifetime, satisfying even the most ravenous sweet appetite.
Visit the M&M’s shop, where you can have your name printed in one of more than 15 different colors on M&M’s candies. Visit Hershey’s Chocolate World and have a s’more prepared just the way you like it, or create your own personalized Hershey bar. Shop for the latest authentic Disney merchandise from your beloved movies and Broadway shows at the Times Square location of the world-famous Disney Store, complete with interactive exhibits to keep the little ones busy.
The area is also home to many interesting sights. Ripley’s Believe it or Not! is a museum dedicated to displaying some of the world’s most unusual relics. Amazed, wander the hallways in search of the world’s largest man or an actual shrunken head. There’s also the Madame Tussauds doll exhibit, which is a must-see for anyone in Times Square. Wander the galleries and pose for photos next to wax replicas of your favorite actors, athletes, and historical people.
Highlights of Times Square
You should take your time in Times Square so that you can fully take it in. Walk the recognizable red stairwell, have a seat, and take in the sounds and sights of the neighborhood below.
People will be dressed up in elaborate costumes, many of them portraying popular cartoon and movie figures. They want to pose for a photo with you and then ‘thank’ you for doing so. It’s common practice to offer them a dollar or two, but you don’t have to. If they are annoying, you can always report them to the authorities.
The Nude Cowboy can also be spotted by chance. This guitarist, who is now renowned around the globe, frequently performs in Times Square while wearing a skintight outfit. He performs for observers year-round, regardless of weather, wearing only boxer shorts and cowboy boots (even when there’s a foot of snow on the ground)!
The plaza also features a wide variety of themed eateries like the Hard Rock Café, Bubba Gump, and Planet Hollywood. Keep your eyes on the sky, and you can just make out the Ball that will soon be dropping to usher in the new year. Visitors of different Ball Drop events can enjoy looking at this ‘Ball Drop.
New year’s eve at Times Square
The estimated one million people on the Street, millions more watching across the country, and over a billion views around the world all join together to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the new as the renowned New Year’s Eve Ball drops from the flagpole atop One Times Square.
Visitors to New Year’s Eve parties typically begin showing up in the late afternoon. Bow Tie of Times Square (42nd to 47th Sts. between Broadway & 7th Ave.) is completely blocked to traffic by 3:00 p.m. The NYPD has directed the crowd to assemble in designated observation areas. The police will guide the crowd to the next viewing area as each one becomes full.
Uptown from 43rd Street all the way to Central Park, people are filling the Times Square area along Broadway and Seventh Avenue. It is recommended that visitors to Times Square approach the area from either Sixth or Eighth Avenue. Arriving early improves your odds of securing a prime watching location near the Ball (on 43rd Street and Broadway).
As the streets fill up from south to north, the authorities will shut them down one by one. To get the greatest view of the Ball, get there early and find a place along Broadway between 43rd and 50th streets or along Seventh Avenue between 43rd and 59th streets.
The New Year’s Eve festivities kick off when the Ball atop One Times Square is lit and raised to welcome in the new year. Starting at 6:00 p.m., the Ball is fired and starts its ascension, followed by unique pyrotechnic effects. Then the Times Square Alliance cleaning staff, decked out in bright red outfits, starts handing out thousands of the infamous hats, glasses, and noisemakers as New Year’s Eve celebration favors.
One of the most memorable aspects of ringing in the New Year in Times Square is the Rockin’ Night celebrations. Around 8 o’clock, the stage will come to life with performances by some of your best musical artists.
As the clock ticks down to midnight, the New Year’s Eve ball starts its fall. The Ball’s lights go out at the stroke of midnight, and the numbers of the upcoming year light up above Times Square. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, people in Times Square let off multicolored pyrotechnic cannons and set off colorful fireworks to welcome the new year.
How to get to Times Square
Time Square has been primarily a walking area since 2009 when vehicular travel was banned in the area. You can reach Times Square from a number of different metro stops. Several metro routes converge at Times Square/42 St., including the purple, red, and yellow lines.
Take the blue line and get off at Port Authority; you’ll be in the middle of New York City‘s hustle and bustle in no time. Times Square is also the starting point for all Hop-on, Hop-off bus excursions.