Times Square Famous Landmark in New York City

Times Square is popularly known as “The Crossroads of the world” and “The Great White Way”.

Times Square is a brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway theatre district, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections.Times Square lies at the junction of the Broadway and the Seventh Avenue and stretch from the west 42nd to west 47thstreets.Times Square is popularly known as “The Crossroads of the world” and “The Great White Way”. According to the survey of Travel & Leisure Magazine October 2011 edition, Times Square is the world’s most visited tourist attraction and every year 39 million tourists visit this iconic building.

Times Square

History

At the end of the 19th century, New York City had expanded up to 42nd street and the area was becoming the center of the city’s social scene. In 1904, the New York Times built the Times Tower on 43rd street just off Broadway to replace its downtown premises. The square in front of the building was called Long-acre square, but was soon renamed Times Square.

Theater District and Billboards

At the start of the First World War, Times Square was the center of the Theater District and attracted a large number of visitors. This made the square an ideal place for billboards. In 1917 the first large electric display billboard was installed. Eleven years later, the first running electric sign was lit for the first time, to announce Herbert Hoover’s victory in the Presidential elections. The billboards have become such a tourist attraction for the area, that the zoning now requires the buildings to be covered with billboards!

Decline and Disney fixation

Around 1930’s, the theatre going population declined due to the Great Recession all over the world. Several businesses shut their shops and strip tease and peep shows quickly took the Centre stage of the Times Square as the profit business. Though the visitors still used to come to the area during this time too. After the second world war in the later 1940’s,the Theatre districts starts booming again. At the end of 1960, the area started to go go downhill and by the seventies, the tourists avoided the The Times square due to the fact it has become crime-ridden and drug-infested place now.

In the 1980s redevelopment proposals were submitted, with little result. This changed a decade later, when the Walt Disney Company opened a Disney store on Times Square. This attracted more family-friendly businesses to the area, leading to a so-called ‘Disneyfication’. The area was now – like most of New York City – a lot safer than in the early nineties and Times Square once again became a magnet for tourists and a center of New York’s social scene.

Modern features of Times Square

Pedestrian delight

Times Square has been an intersection of the traffic for most of its times but now pedestrians can take the sigh of relief as the whole area is under the redevelopment project which initiated in 2012 and will continue till 2016. Under this project the whole area will be made car free and asphalt is being removed from all over the roads to make it convenient for the pedestrians to walk through. This is dubbed as the Times Square Transformation.

Entertainment

Times Square is famous for its entertainment and plenty of visitors come here to attend the Broadway show. Times Square is also home to MTV’s headquarters and ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ is broadcast in front of a live audience from its office at 44th and Broadway. Apart from  the attractions of many billboards and the whole ambience of this area, there are also many restaurants and over 100 of shops that include the world famous Disney store and Toy”R”U.

Paramount Building and Visitors Center

Paramount building is now only an Office tower but in previous times it was the place for the Paramount theatre where the yesteryears celebrities like Fred Astaire, Bing Cosby and frank Cinatra performed live.

Another former theater, the Embassy Theater, is now the home of Times Square’s own visitors center. Here you can get information about events and Broadway shows. There’s also a small museum that tells the history of Times Square.


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