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Entertainment & Attractions

Times Square is America’s town square. People have long flocked to the district to watch election night results unfold, follow sporting events on the electronic tickers, attend Broadway productions and (of course) celebrate the New Year’s Eve ball drop. Today, Times Square remains one of New York City’s major gathering spots and features an array of other attractions. Come rock out to a show at the Best Buy Theater. Sway to smooth jazz at the Iridium. Let New York’s top comics make your stomachs ache with laughter at Caroline’s on Broadway. Snap a selfie next to a wax twin of your favorite star at Madame Tussaud’s. And before you turn in for the evening, sit on the red steps of the TKTS booth and watch the theater of the city itself pass you by.

History of Times Square

Humanity Not at its Best, or Worst – but at its Most

Times Square is the intersection of spectators and performers, tourists and locals; all the diversity of the city, the country, and the world interacting. Times Square accommodates many activities both planned and spontaneous, and connects streetscapes, underground passages, and penthouses. Finally there are the layers of history that lie under the streets and behind the facades of theaters, diners and stores. The density and the congestion are part of what is authentic to a place where art, life and commerce quite literally collide.

Much of what constitutes modern American culture has been invented and reinvented, tested, and displayed in the few blocks that make up the Times Square district. This is where Americans devise new ways to entertain themselves. By 1928, some 264 shows were produced in 76 theaters in Times Square. These theaters showcased not old-world opera, but the new popular culture born of America’s immigrant stew – vaudeville and musicals, jazz and the movies. Today it remains the busiest theater district in the world, and is also home to MTV, ABC, B.B. Kings, Hard Rock Cafe, Best Buy Theater, and Madame Tussaud’s.

The most popular spectacles of Times Square have always been free – the dazzling electrical signs that gave Broadway its reputation as “The Great White Way.” Over the course of the past hundred years, Times Square has become an outdoor laboratory for new ways to communicate and advertise.

Times Square is also where American news was made. It was here that writers like Walter Winchell and Damon Runyon perfected their punchy reporting style, the gossip column, and the use of slang, that redefined what news was – how it was to be written and reported, and what counted. Now ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Reuters, Viacom, Condé Naste, and of course the New York Times are all here.

Prostitution and sex theaters defined the area for much of the post-World War II era. In a larger sense, Times Square was a place where boundaries could be pushed, and broken, and desire expressed. It is no accident that, in Times Square, women could challenge the rules of dating, and gays and lesbians could find a greater level of freedom than they found elsewhere in the city.

Times Square blossomed in the first third of the twentieth century, only to slide into notorious decay in the face of the post-1945 world of television, suburbs, and racial strife. Times Square has returned in the past two decades. The crowds that first made the place have also returned, contributing to the unique mix of creativity and commerce, energy and edge that makes Times Square both an international icon and a universe in miniature, reflecting the obsessions, desires and priorities of a changing world.


    1. New York Magazine
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      2. Daily News & Analysis‎ – 12 hours ago

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    Times Square can even be a convenient, if chaotic, base, thanks to hotels at every price point and easy access to public transportation: subways, rails, buses, and more yellow taxis than you can count.

  • Being a Times Square Elmo – The New Yorker

    The New Yorker‎ – Jun 2014

    Last Saturday, a few blocks north of Times Square, a nineteen-year-old named Virgilia Reyes was wearing a red Elmo costume, with a drawstring bag slung across her back and an …

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    Gizmodo‎ – Jul 2014

    When we stepped out onto the roof, the wind whipped me sideways, and it took me a second to get my bearings. I was nine stories above Times Square, staring at the back of its biggest …



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