* Prices may differ from that shown
Times Square is a place which for years I had always envisaged after seeing it on numerous television shows and in the movies and when I visited the New York for the first time it was one of the first places I wanted to see. The bright lights and electric atmosphere had me hooked and I was desperate to experience it first hand. To get the full effect I knew that I had to wait until it was dark to see go so that I could see it at its best. The first time I caught a glimpse of the flashing lights I knew that it was going to be something special. I was so excited to see it that being there felt a little overwhelming.
My first visit to Times Square was a big deal for me, it was inspirational and since then I have returned numerous times to relive the excitement. Now that I know exactly what to expect, Times Square isn't quite as mind-blowing however I do find it just as fascinating as that first time I saw it. Each time I go there is something new and it just seems to grow bigger and get busier. I am a people watcher, I love to sit and observe people passing me by. In New York City the range of people is so diverse that you can people watch almost anywhere. However, sitting in Times Square is a whole new experience. I could spend hours there and see people from all over the world, it is incredible. Times Square is a meeting place for people, mainly tourists, to sit and soak up the city atmosphere and marvel at the many screens and lights.
Times Square is pretty big and is known locally as the 'The Crossroads of the World''. It is situated at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and it stretches from West 42nd Street to West 47th Street. As it is today, Times Square is the commercial centre of Manhattan. It is similar to Piccadilly Circus in London, however if you have visited both then you will know that Times Square is a lot more grand and dramatic. It is a huge tourist attraction due to its shops, restaurants, bars and of course Broadway.
The busy intersection used to be called 'Longacre Square' up until 1904 when the New York Times moved their headquarters to the Times Building therefore altering the name, lucky that they did as I don't think Longacre Square has quite the same glamorous ring to it. In 1929 the stock market crashed and a lot of businesses had to move out of Times Square making way for seedier businesses to move in. At this time you would most likely find pornographic 'peep shows' in the area and it became a little dicey. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani came to the rescue in the 1990's by starting a transformation on Times Square that it was in desperate need of. The transformation became known as the 'Disneyfication' of Times Square which is a term that I absolutely love. The aim was to make it more family friendly and a more successful location for tourists to visit. The transformation was a huge success and now in 2011 we have the fantastic Times Square as it stands, a New York gem.
Before I visited Times Square I wasn't quite aware of how much light there is and how many screens there are and the sheer size of these screens. One of my first thoughts was wow, this place must use up some serious electricity, which is today still one of main concerns about Times Square. Yes it is wonderful and yes it is glitzy but is it really necessary? I was happy to learn that there are eco-friendly billboards in Times Square which generate their own electricity through solar panels and wind turbines however I still think that the electricity bill for this place would be obscene. Some of Times Squares most memorable and famous signs are for Coca-Cola, Toshiba and NASDAQ.
Times Square has a lot of shops, restaurants, bars and hotels. The most memorable stores for me were the M&M's factory, Planet Hollywood, Forever 21, The Disney Store, American Eagle Outfitters, Swatch, L'Occitane and Schwartz. The shops are huge and there is so much choice for things to buy. There are so many people trying to look round the shops at one time that it isn't for the fainthearted, especially the souvenir shops! There are loads of great places to eat, including my personal favourite 'The Olive Garden', I would recommend booking in advance anywhere in Times Square or you might face a bit of a wait for a table. The rich and famous love to hang out at some of the exclusive bars in Times Square, there is usually a guest list which you need to be on to get into the really nice bars.
There is a ticket buying station situated next to the famous red steps where you can buy discounted tickets for Broadway shows. I have never had the patience to queue in the long, long line for these tickets however if there was a show I wanted to go see I would definitely make the effort to do so. Just make sure you get there early to avoid waiting around for too long, there is a huge board which gives you ticket selling info and prices so you know what you are queuing for.
Times Square is famous for its "interesting" street performers. I have seen a variety of people in Times Square, some of them very cool and some of them a little scary. There is the naked cowboy who has become famous in his own right and there is also the naked cowgirl. In fact, there are 2 naked cowgirls one is old and one is young. I have seen people dressed up as insane characters and making a fuss to get attention, it really is an eye-opener. One thing I would be cautious of is the comedy ticket sellers, there are so many. They walk around with a board and kind of use mean comedy to get your attention. These guys are professional ticket sellers and will do anything to try and make some commission. I have had 2 encounters in the past with these ticket sellers, the first time I was had and I bought a ticket. The guy made us laugh and spoke to us for so long we felt obliged to buy the tickets. We were promised famous comedians and a real laugh when in fact we got okay comedians and had to spend $20 on drink once we got there as part of the deal, and the drinks were $15 each. The second time I was approached I knew not to bother buying the tickets but the people who I was with didn't know as it was their first trip, so I had to stand through another wannabe comedian act trying to sell tickets. I stood my ground however and didn't buy any.
The last time I was in Times Square was in August this year. It was definitely a strange experience and one which I will remember for the rest of my life. It was 2 days before Hurricane Irene was due to hit New York City. There were a lot of people in Times Square whispering and getting a little bit nervous about the fuss the press were making and were wondering whether it really was a big deal. There was definitely a different atmosphere to what I had experienced before and the extreme preachers running around screaming about how God is planning to wipe out New York City definitely unnerved me.
A trip to New York would not be complete without a visit or 2 to Times Square. It is busy, loud, polluted, overcrowded and most of all fabulous! It is fun for all of the family and it feels safe as there are a lot of police around. The atmosphere is incredibly electric and you will never get stuck for something to do there. There are a couple of tube stations near to Times Square so it is very easy to get to. It is a great part of the city and I will pay it a visit every time I go to NYC.
Thanks for reading.
Review also on Ciao under luceey.
On my trip to New York I must admit Times Square wasn't too high on my list of the places I was going to visit, and this was mainly because I did quite a bit of research before my trip and I knew it was a place that was going to be chuck full of tourists. This doesn't mean however that I wasn't going to give it a miss altogether, I mean how could I? Times Square is one of the most famous squares in the world (has anyone seen those rice krispie square adverts recently?) and I had to admit to myself that I did want to go and see those pretty lights.
Times Square is an intersection at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue. It has a huge number of flashy LED lights, mostly adverts, and my guide book informs me that it actually has an ordinance that requires all building owners to display illuminated signs. Times Square is also the place where people go to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve, and you can see this ball on top of one of the One Times Square building.
Wandering down Times Square at about 8pm on an evening and the place is jam packed with tourists, and it is harder to walk about Times Square than it is anyway elsewhere in the city, even at rush hour, it is constantly busy through out the day and into the evening. There are quuite a few shops around this area too, and they are open till late in the evening around 10-11pm as the area does not quieten down. There are also numerous restaurants in the area such as Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and many more. There are large sections of the roads around Times Square which are now cornered off to be Pedestrian Plaza's and are scattered with metal chairs for the tourists to sit on.
Times Square was the only place in New York where we were hassled by people, and this was by people trying to sell tickets for comedy shows or those red open top bus tours, though this wasn't too bad as they often took the first 'No thanks' as the final answer rather than following you down the road for another 5 minutes.
I did visit a couple of shops on Times Square, one being the Toys R Us store which has a large ferris wheel in the middle of the store. I also went in M&M's world, and couldn't believe there could be so much merchandise with M&M's on it (3 floors of it in fact!) and you had to fight your way through all this merchandise just to purchase some actual M&M's (I wanted pretzel and peanut butter flavoured ones!) We also popped over the road to go into the Reese's shop trying to rival M&M World though this was much smaller and I didn't last 2 minutes in there. Believe it or not there's even a whole shop dedicated to Pop Tarts too, and again you can buy some t-shirts and caps and many other items from here. I also wandered into Forever 21 which was a huge shop again covering several floors and is a must for anyone who likes New Look or TopShop. Also in the area is a Madame Tussaud's wax museum (I can never understand the appeal of this) and a Ripley's Believe it or Not! Which are newer attractions on the redeveloped 42nd street.
I went to Times Square twice and on both occasions I didn't last very long at all, as it's a complete tourist trap and to me it was much nicer to wander the streets of New York on an evening. When I did visit once during the day the area was even busier and it's quite hard to move around in some parts. By all means I suggest going to visit it once, just to see those lights, but be prepared to fight your way through crowds of tourists who are desperate to buy M&M bedsheets and eat dinner at Planet Hollywood before having their photos taken with waxworks.
Times Square, New York City, once a desolate and crime ridden area of the city, before undergoing a transformation into the stunning area it is today.
The bit that comes under Times Square is more of a big rectangle. It is Broadway running across diagonally (if memory serves me right, the only diagonal road in Manhattan), briefly touching on 7th Avenue, before parting ways and continuing on it's journey.
The first thing you will notice about Times Square is all the advertising. These are massive, and I mean massive, electronic boards hanging from the building's facades all around the area. They advertise everything from cars to Coke. When we visited during the summer months, one of the boards had a written display stating that they had turned off the advertisement to save energy, written in very large electric letters.
The second thing you will notice about it is the mass of people there. The only times I have seen so many people in one place has been at concert's or football stadiums. The sidewalks are heaving with people and sometimes, it is just easier to wander down the edge of the road to get ot where you want to be. It is best to avoid trying to cut through teh square if you are in a hurry and need to get to the other side.
There are numerous independant shops in the area, all touristy and selling the usual tourist junk you see every where. Then you have the chain stores, like Toys R Us, Footlocker, etc. The only shop I can remember going in, me not being a shop person really, was the M + M shop. Rather disappointing, as they don't really stock that many M + M's, but gifts, such as cups, etc. There is also a few restaurants, ranging from a KFC, with the token Dunkin Donuts attached to it, to Bubba Gump's shrimp. Would have loved to have gone there, but you can't book and just have to turn up, but every time we did, it was packed.
We witnessed the Naked Cowboy do a song or 2 during our wandering's through the area. This is where the tourist information centre is located, as well as a TKTS booth thing for cheap tickets to the theatres. The NYPD have a small station situated right on the square, which has the New York Police Department wording light up and flash, only in New York.
Access to the area is very easy, with several Subway stations just outside the square. There are a gazillion (that is a number) yellow cabs driving through at any one time as well. If you fancy the walk, Central park is only around 10 minutes or so Uptown.
My main recommendtion is probably not a great one. While I was in New York, I struggled with staying in bed in the mornings. I would wake up at 5am on the dot every day. I took to having a wander on my own around the area, which ended up resulting in walking about 20 blocks. Our hotel was 30 seconds away from the square and going to it at that time of the morning, there was absolutely no one about, no cars or anything. It was very tranquil and I didn't have to fight for space with people to get decent pictures of the area. So one morning, wake up early and you will be surprised.
This is the most exciting part of New York. The part that you can't wait to see. You've seen it on so many films and TV programmes and can't wait to see it in real life. And yes, it is just as amazing in the flesh.
This was the first proper sightseeing part of our trip we did and as soon as we caught a glimpse of it, it was like, wow we're in New York. You can see it from way up the street where our hotel was and as we gradually became closer and closer to it, we could feel our hearts beating faster and faster, our smiles getting bigger and bigger and the spring in our step getting more and more bouncy with excitement.
The main attraction is all the huge signs and lights that make it so bright and colourful and it is absolutely jam-packed full of these, all over every single building, advertising everything from hit Broadway shows to Sean John's latest aftershave; the newest pair of sneakers to a cold pint of Budweiser; a popular bank to a recent cinema release. The amount of photos I took just of all the signs was incredible! It really is like what you see on TV.
Around Times Square there are many things to keep you occupied. In the centre of the Square is TKTS, the discount theatre office, which offers top Broadway show tickets with up to 50% off. You can find out what time the office opens each day on the signs outside but you need to get there early as the queues end up circling round the square. You can climb up the stairs that take you onto the top of the TKTS office to get an even better vantage point for those precious photos. You can take a seat and watch all the going-ons around you at the bottom of the steps, although it was too cold to do this when we were there.
You will be completely overwhelmed by the amount of shops, bars and places to eat which cover anything and everything you could possibly think of. sbarro is a tasty and good value place to eat which does mainly pizza and pasta. A small taster of some of the other places to eat are TGI Friday, ESPN Zone (see my other review on this), all the usual take away places as well as some more upmarket eateries and the typical American diners. There are literally hundreds of shops including M&M World (oh my god I can't believe there's a shop full of M&M products!) and Toys "R" Us with its 60ft Ferris Wheel inside. If you're lucky enough you might catch one of the occasional visiting attractions to Times Square - the Naked Cowboy - a hunky and muscley Yank who walks around the Square wearing just a pair of Y fronts and playing his guitar. You get the privilege of having your picture taken with him and he's so funny and nice. He picked me up and pretended to walk away with me while my husband was taking the picture!
At night it is an even more amazing sight when all the lights are lit up with hundreds of different colours and you just can't take your eyes away. We found that the Square is slightly smaller than we thought, a bit smaller than what it looks like on TV, but in no way does this take away from the fascination of it.
Times Square is at the heart of the theatre district with many theatres on the Square and Broadway only in the next street. A few blocks north of Times Square is Central Park and a short walk south will take you to Macy's, Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building.
The famous newspaper the New York Times used to be located at the main intersection of Times Square at the New York Times Tower. This is where the crystal ball drops at midnight every New Years Eve, as it has since the building opened in 1906.
"The city that never sleeps" - of Times Square, this is true.
Here's another review regarding my visit to New York and just like all the others it was an amazing place to visit!
We stumbled acroos Times Square while looking for a nice restaurant to eat in and it was awasome as I turned around and was stunned by the dazzling birhgt lights of Times Square! It is like nothing you have ever seen before as every single shop and restaurant has huge neon signs flashing above them as well as the massive billboards advertising films and shows on Broadway.
One thing I realised while being here is that it is a lot bigger then what I thought as Time Sqaure splits between two sides of buildings and then join back up at the bottom, which I thought was great as there is even more to look at.
It has to be said that Times Sqaure is one of the busiest places in Manhatten and know wonder as it is one of the most famous tourist spots, so you'll constantly be side stepping everyone as you walk through.
Make sure you have your camera ready with you when you go here as you honestly need to take 4 or 5 photos of times sqaure just to capture every inch of it!
One of the best places to visit would be the M&M store. I have never seen anything of the sort! You walk in and everything that could be merchandised is from hats, hoodies, T-shirts, pillows you name it and they will have it. As you go upto the second and third floors these are covered with even more m&m merchandise as well as huge tubes that cover one side of the walls, each tube containg differnt colour of M&M so that you can choose your very own colour specified pack of m&ms. There were all sorts of colours that I have never seen beore from lilac to the palest blue. If you love chocolate then you'll love this store.
Another place I loved was a restaurant we ate at here called Planet Hollywood, and honestly it was the best place I have ever eaten at in my entire life. Everything from the service to the food was impeccable.
Times Sqaure is a place you could go to again and again each visit you go you'll find something else to do or see.
I've been lucky enough to visit New York a couple of times and consider myself even luckier that I'm due to go back at the end of this year (2009) to celebrate New Year.
We loved Times Square so much that on our second trip back to New York we stayed in the Renaissance Times Square (Marriott) as we wanted to be right in the centre of the "buzz".
We certainly were! You step out of the hotel and you are immediately wowed by all the bright lights and noise. No matter how many times I seem to stop and stare, I still feel overwhelmed.
I did often just stop and wonder how many light bulbs are on the signs and what sky high prices the electric bills must be, but then you realise you are stood stopped in one of the busiest area in Manhattan getting in everyones way! Oops!
Whether it's night or day there is always something to entertain you in Times Square. I'm going to mention a couple of my favourites places to visit in Times Square.
M&M World and The Hersheys Store.
Now I'm a big fan of anything chocolatey, so these stores were a must on my list. The Hersheys store is relatively small (when compared to M&M world) but still has all the Hersheys chocolate you need. From the traditional Hersheys kisses to huge Reese's peanut butter cup cushions. Hersheys Kisses are little chocolates that you pull a paper tag to open the foil, in this store you can get large kisses and have the paper tag pull personalised which is great for a gift.
M&Ms World is 25,000 square foot and 3 floors full of M&M themed merchandise. I know what you're thinking, how can you fill up 3 floors with M&Ms stuff. Well they succeeded. You have your regular M&M chocolates, with a great wall of M&Ms all seperated into every imaginable colour so you can fill a bag with your favourites. Then you have every item that you can imagine - Socks, t-shirts, mugs, tooth brushes, over gloves, the list goes on, all themed with M&Ms. You could actually decorate your whole house and family top to toe in M&M themed items (if you were that way inclined!).
Toy's R Us
The Toy's R Us in Times Square is very easy to spot! They have a huge store front that is completely covered with TV Screens with Geofrey the Giraffe popping up keeping a look over Times Square along with various other videos and film clips. I'm not sure if they still do it, but when we went last in April 07 you could have you picture put up on these huge TV screens, and if I remember rightly the prices were pretty reasonable. Your name and face in lights in Times Square... how cool!
As you enter Toys R Us, you get greeted by someone trying to take your picture that you can later buy. Hmm, ok, this is fine the first time you go into the store, but if you visit a couple of times it can be a bit annoying having to either stop again, or try and find a way to dodge them. This can also make the (rather small for a store this size) entrance very crowded.
Once through you are faced with a HUGE 60ft ferris wheel right slap bang in the middle of the store! You are able to ride on the ferris wheel for a fee, and again, they'll take your picture!
There are loads of other great things in this store that you almost (almost!) forget about the toys. I love the Giant Jurassic Park T-Rex, which is fully animated and the life size barbie house!
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Bubba Gump is a restaurant themed on the film Forest Gump. Most of the menu is shrimp orientated (well duh!) but there are also enough items on the menu to still have a good time if you're not a shrimp lover! The food portions are very generous. I'd go for the onion rings to start as I just love the way they are presented. They are all hooped over a similar item to a kitchen roll holder but twice the height, and they taste great! All over the restaurant are items and quotes from the film. The service here is also great. You basically have a sign on your system that says "Run Forest" and on the flip side "Stop Forest" so if you want something from a waiter/tres you turn the sign over to "Stop Forest"! Takes a bit of getting used to, but is a good idea!
All in all there are loads of shops and restaurants in Times Square and these are my favourites. There is definately something to suit everyones budgets and tastes and you may be lucky enough to see the naked cowboy singing with his guitar. But my truly favourite thing is just standing in the middle of Times Square and getting a panoramic view of the world just rushing around you! You will always see something different going on and although it is very busy we always felt very safe.
"D'ya like comedy?" "Bus tour, bus tour"
There is a small downside to Times Square. It's obviously a tourist hotspot so on every street corner there is someone trying to sell you tickets to a show or tickets for a tour bus. Which is great (and I would reccomend a hop on hop off bus tour), but, like the Toy's R us photography, you can only cope with being asked a certain amount of times! By the 10th time of being asked "D'ya like comedy" we certainly didn't! But you just have to grin and bear this, or try to avoid them, after all, they're only doing there job!
As I am fortunate enough to visit New York quite reguarly I thought it about time to write about my favourite part of Manhattan, Times Square it is definately THE place to be when you visit.
Times Square was originally known as Longacre Square but was renamed in 1904 after the New York Times Building that was the cornerstone of the district located North of 42nd Street.
In 1904 the New York Times held a celebration on New Year's Eve party to celebrate the renaming of this area and even today hundreds of thousands of people gather and wait for hours in the cold of a New York winter for the famous ball drop ceremony.
Times Square is now known as the vibrant part of the city and is the place to be with big, bright signs you know when you have arrived there. Times Square area consists of the blocks between Sixth and Eighth Avenues from east to west, and West 40th and West 53rd Streets from south to north, making up the western part of the commercial area of Midtown Manhattan.
When I first visited New York back in 2000 I was really taken aback with the bright lights and crowded streets of Times Square it was like nothing I had ever seen before and the streets had stalls with souvenirs for you to take home from prints of Manhattan to New York t-shirts you really could think of something and be guaranteed to find it in Times Square.
The huge Virgin Megastore has played host to many celebrity visits giving you the chance to meet celebs at book launches and cd launches. On my last visit Paris Hilton was visiting later that day to launch her new book and was offering signings, I was definately a little star struck knowing that I really was that close to a celebrity. 3 floors offer you a wide selection of DVD's, books, music and much more and some of the DVD's can be at a much more competitive price compared with the UK prices.
A huge Hersheys store can also be found on Times Square and you can fill yourself to the brim with the gorgeous Hershey Kisses filled with various fondants or nuts absolutely delicious!!
If Sea food is your thing then make a reservation at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for a hearty meal or if you'd rather something a little more special pre-book the meal at the Marriott Marquis hotel and dine at "The View" restaurant. Simply amazing, perched on top of a hotel, the revolving rooftop restaurant gives you an amazing 360 view from the heart of the Time Square Theatre District, witnessing the New York skyline in its most dazzling splendour. Youi can also pick up cheaper Broadway tickets here from 10am-2pm for that afternoon's matinee performances and from 3pm for the evening's performances with over 50 theatres, it is well worth checking out.
Madame Tussauds is located just off 42nd Street and even if you don't meet any real life celebrities during your visit you will be guaranteed to meet their wax replicas here, when we visited they had the set up for pop idol and you could actually sing and be judged by Simon Cowell, I certainly wasn't brave enough to do this!
Times Square comes alive at night with so many lights its like daylight all the time and is always busy what ever time of the day so make the time of your break to spend some of it here and experience what New York really has to offer.
In my opinion this was one of the best experiences I had on my trip to new york. I have never seen anything like it before!The billboards were massive and the advertisements looked brilliant all lit up especially at night time. Even at night time Times Square was still very active and loads going on. There is plenty to do and its suitable for all ages. There was alot of crowds even for march time,but that was expected. I would advise people with children to watch out as a child could be easily lost.
There was alot of restaurants and shops about. We went to Hard Rock cafe and thought it was well worth the money the food was lovely.
Also there was the M&M shop which I think is a definate worth while to see if you have the time. It has loads of souveniers in this shop I spent ages looking around. You can get your picture taken with an M&M if you wanted.
Another place we went to was Toys "R" Us it was soo big and I loved it, im such a big child. It had every toy imaginable! There are big displays everywhere I liked the one lego had it was a big dinosaur. Inside there is also a ferris wheel which you can have a ride on for a small fee. This would be great for children and you can see alot of the shop (which has lots of floors) as you go around on the ferris wheel.
There was a Vergin Megastores which was huge and worth while visiting if you are a fan of music. It had every CD and DVD imaginable.
Other places of interest would be The New York Times, the Disney shop and Reuters.
Another attraction which I heard alot of people taking about was the 'Naked cowboy' for a photo opp however I did not see him when I was there.
I loved the atompshere about Times Square it always seemed to be buzzing plus I found myself watching the advertisements for ages as they are so huge! The MTV studios are here but to be honest there wasnt much happening about them when I was there.Its definately a great photo stop!
Orginally posted on Ciao under my username denisekelly40
By now youre guessing that I loved New York, maybe even to the point where you dread another review about it. Well, the good news is that this maybe the last one Im gonna write although Im still debating whether to review the hotel we stayed at (Hmmmmm
.*ponders*). So anyway, we know that most of the sights and sounds of New York are iconic. As a matter of fact, NY is an icon in its own right! There are so many visual images of the *Big Apple that it can be a big, hairy haze of confusion as to what to see and visit and, even, what to review when you get back....
Times Square is another landmark synonymous with NY. For most, it conjures up a picture of thousands of people celebrating the coming of a New Year at the annual jamboree that is New Years Eve. Fireworks and folks, New Yorkers and the chiming of the last few seconds of an outgoing year. For me, it also makes me think of the opening sequence of Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise roaming around an utterly deserted Times Square, thinking, Ill bet this place is simply never like this!
The world-renowned area within Manhattan has undergone some major changes over the years. Up until only recently, Times Square was a dirty, littered section of NY given to seedy sex clubs and petty crime. It is with great credit to Mayor Giuliani and others that TS has cleaned up its act and, once again, become a magnate for tourists.
Curiously, Times Square isnt a square at all. Its a junction where Broadway crosses 7th Avenue. To get to TS, you can either walk (depending on where your hotel is), catch a yellow NY cab or take the Subway 1,2,3,7,9, N, Q, R, S, W to 42nd Street/Times Square. The name Times Square originated in 1904. When the New York Times set up a shop in what is now 1 Times Square, the area was re-named in its honour. That same year, a huge fireworks display set a precedent for the now world famous annual event watched by millions on their TV.
The 1920s saw an increase in theatres that enhanced the reputation of 42nd Street although the boom times of TS and its surrounding attributes saw a decline in the 1960s, made worse by the economic ills of the 70s and 80s. The establishment of the Times Square Business Improvement District in the 1990s set the area back on the road to recovery and what it is today. The arrival of the Disney company, which spent millions on renovating The New Amsterdam Theatre to stage The Lion King, only served to accelerate this move to a more hospitable part of NY.
We certainly found Times Square a safe place to be. Police presence is high and obvious whilst an army of street cleaners keep the roads clean. At times, the streets and avenues can be a blur of yellow as mass ranks of yellow NY cabs take their clients to their destinations or return looking for another job. The sidewalks are a writhing sea of bodies, all going about their business whether thats trying to get to that next shop or heading towards their place of work. Funnily enough, the evening is far busier than the daytime with TS lit up by a miasma of neon and fluorescent colour. Many businesses have their HQ in Times Square ABC Television, Conde Nast Publications, VH-1, Viacom, Toys-R-Us and ESPN to name but a few. The NASDAQ market site has the largest video screen in the world and dominates an area loaded with electronic ticker-tape and moving adverts.
There are lots of things to do in TS and we found ourselves drawn too it on several occasions during our stay. There is no shortage of restaurants. Planet Hollywood has a franchise whilst TGI Friday looked a popular choice. The problem we encountered was the lack of choice for vegetarians. We ended up at an Italian Trattoria where we had a decent meal of pasta and pizza for $100. All corners of the Globe are represented and we noted an Indian, Chinese as well as several Italian restaurants although, truth be known, we suspected that whatever it was you fancied to eat, you were almost certain to find it available in TS somewhere. This is not to mention the numerous one-man bands that hug the sidewalks selling hotdogs, pretzels and all of those other foods youd expect to find.
Of course, youll find shops in this pantheon of Capitalism and plenty of em. We used TS to buy our gifts for family and friends and there are plenty selling giftware and memorabilia. The more interesting shops come on a grand scale. We went into Toys-R-Us on a couple of occasions, managing to dodge the photographer who was capturing entrants to take the family snap shot and re-sell it back for some exorbitant price in dollars. Everything is bigger and better in Toys-R-us with several floors of a latter day Nirvana for children. We also made it to the Hershey store although we did expect to see a giant chocolate bar outside. There wasnt one! (really must write to those lovely guide book producers).
Not far away is the world famous Macys department store. Macys takes up an entire block in its own right and is like a more Regal version of Debenhams or any other department store you can think of. There were some huge flower displays when we were in Macy's whilst the various floors came with everything from the usual mix of Gentlemens, childrens and womens clothing to numerous food outlets including a MacDonalds fast food affair which we visited for a milkshake. Youll also find a toilet in Macys which is NYs best kept secret, what with there being so few of them! The sidewalks themselves are home to many street peddlers selling posters and prints of New York. We did find these stalls interesting and a welcome departure from the more routine shops. In saying that, we didnt end up buying anything which may well have been down to our reluctance to barter. Well, we are reserved English folk goddamit.
As mentioned in a previous opinion about New York in general, I did catch a glimpse of Mr Robbie Williams doing an interview in the MTV building. Yep, he still didnt recognise me though....
Times Square has so much to see and do. The Empire State Building stands proudly close by whilst The Chrysler and The Woolworth Buildings add a concrete sense of beauty to the horizon. Grand Central Station is just a few blocks from the hub of TS and a reasonable walk for passengers alighting for the heart of New York. There are plenty of stage shows to go and see and we did consider going to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but at $400 for the 4 of us, it seemed a bit unreasonable in terms of cost. There are several movie theatres and dotted throughout are diners, restaurants and a huge Madam Tussauds in case you fancy seeing a few more dummies.
You can find a number of hotels right in the middle of it all including The Hilton and The Sheraton to name but two. Accommodation in NY in general is plentiful and with the pound doing so well against the dollar and flights to NY being advertised in this weekends press for around £350 then now is a great time to go to the capital where its all happening.
Times Square will draw you in like a moth to a light, especially when its all lit up at night and a blaze of neon. Remember to take your wallet or purse with you because there are a million and one ways to spent your dollars here. Enjoy it, take a cab ride back to your hotel and, of course, get that obligatory snap at slow exposure of Times Square at night so that you can tell everyone that youve been there when you get back home.
Thanks for reading
Associated web sites:
*Big Apple comes from the horse racing writing column established in the 1920s by John Fitzgerald. He overheard New York stablehands referring to city horse tracks as the Big Apple and the term stuck courtesy of Around the Big Apple featuring in The Morning Telegraph.
Times Square may not be what it used to be but then what is? And that isn't necessarily bad. Not too long ago, the square was the target of leering jokes because of its many sex shops, street hustlers, adult theaters and so on that tended to attract a pretty rough crowd. You wouldn't have wanted to walk through Times Square alone late in the evening. But Times Square has changed. It's as crowded as ever, but this time with families eager to ogle the rest of the crowds who wander through the area looking at the new stores that have sprung up in the last couple of years. Some New Yorkers loudly (that's how we do everything here) object to some of these changes, complaining that the arrival of chain stores that can be found elsewhere have taken away the square's character. What the shops have done is take away the bad characters. That is not to say you want to stand around gawking at people, wondering what it's like here on New Year's Eve, waving your wallet around as you stand in line for reduced theater tickets, or getting into games of no chance with the three-card monte hustlers. It is still a major city with as many people as ever who'd like to separate you from your money. For heaven's sake, watch out for cars. Crossing the street can be like playing a game of chicken, and many New York pedestrians are pretty tough, with no qualms about facing down drivers. But it's not a smart game to play. Remember, traffic drives on the other side here from Britain. And we don't make it easy the way London does, marking the roads to remind foreigners that the traffic comes from the opposite direction. Despite the aggressive exchanges between drivers and pedestrians, I still advise walking around as much as possible because a)you can get around faster when traffic is bad b)it's the best way to feel the energy and encounters many cultures and l
anguages that feed New York. To add to the congestion, the Sinatra family is trying to get a statue of Frank set up in the square. The mayor likes the idea; the liberals hate it. Be careful shopping in Times Square, and especially don't buy from the street vendors offering incredibly priced, brand-name anything because invariably it's all fake. Be especially careful of the electronics salesmen in the stores or on the street. I'd advise trying some of the carts selling food on the streets as well as some of the many restaurants in the area. You can walk to large numbers of theaters, restaurants, shops and hotels. Nearby are the offices of The New York Times, though its trucks that used to jam the side streets have moved out to Queens; military recruiting offices, a police substation, and several entrances to the city's subway lines. Go west one very long block on 42nd Street and you'll bump into the Port Authority's bus station, a huge and intensely busy area that also attracts religious preachers of just about every faith and color. If you stand by and watch for a while, you'll see the kids from all over the United States who've decided to try their luck here wander out of the bus station and into their new lives.
Times Square is colourful. That was my first impresssion when I went there. But that's because I went there at night when all the lights are on. I went on a morning and it didn't appear to be as attractive as it is at night time. So if you go to Times Square, be sure to go at night. It's an extremely crowded place so be very careful with your belongings. There are a lot of things to see here, shops, hawkers, and so on. I went there a few times, mostly at very late nights when we felt hungry and wanted some snack. I remember there's a MacDonald's where we had our late night snacks. There are some seats by the window where we sat and watch people passing by, comparing the way New Yorkers dress and walk. This is the place where I find people-watching enjoyable :)
Times Square is the epitome of New York. It may be cliched but the Bright Lights and bustle of Times Square are exactly how I imagined New York. It really is a 24 hour area and although it used to be very shabby and salubrious (some of the side streets still are) the sheer quantity of people make it a safe buzzing place to be. Many of the stores are open until the early hours and the lights are so bright you could be forgiven for believing its permanantly daytime. This is the equivalent of London's Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square but as with everything in New York its MUCH BIGGER! It is probably not the best site in New York and is very touristy, but it is a must see.
If like me, you have watched New Years festivities here in Times Square on television and in movies, then it's a place that has to be seen. Close to the theatre district of Broadway, it's incredibly busy and crowded, and to be honest not one of my favourite parts of the city, but a visit to the Big Apple is not complete without at least passing through. The huge television screens are there scrolling through ads and giving you up-to-date news from NBC, there are also a lot of shops..... among them a big Disney store, a Virgin MEGA store whose size alone earns that name and a lot of rather tacky gift shops where you can get your postcards pretty cheaply if nothing else appeals. The Virgin store has a cafe in the basement and is worth a visit to cool off and chill out. New York is very hot if you go in the Summer and Times Square has wall-to-wall people...... so unless this is your thing, see it quickly and go elsewhere fast! If you have kids, be very aware that you could very easily and quickly lose them here - probably more so than anywhere else in the city. All in all, worth a visit, but not somewhere to spend a lot of time unless you're waiting for the New Year's festivities to start in which case get here early and watch for the fireworks!
Time square is set right bang in the middle of New York and the hustle and bustle of the area keeps it alive 24 hours a day. There are hundreds of hotels dotting the roads leading into the square and you can find one to suit you. We stayed in the four star Crowne Plaza, a very standard room was rather small, but that is the case with all rooms in New York. The hotel we stayed in like many others was situated in the heart of the theatre district on Broadway. There is a ticket stand in Time Square where you can get discount tickets for the day's showing. We got four tickets to see the theatre production of Titanic at half price. Queuing can take a dedicated few hours so it is worth preparing before hand. Time square was minutes away from the hotel by foot. We found the New York was a very walkable city, not least because the taxis seemed to spend more time stuck in traffic than moving. The streets are full of people and police located periodically on the main New York streets making it feel like a safer environment than most. Time Square is littered with shops where you can pop in and get goods approximately a third cheaper than in the UK. Don't forget sales tax though. Very noisy but that's what New York is all about. I'm sure you will have a great time here.