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Times Square, Manhattan, NY 10036, United States

GPS: 40.757975485532, -73.985542299512

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Located in the borough of Manhattan in New York, Times Square constitutes one of the most animated districts in the world with Shibuya in Tokyo, the Champs-Élysées in Paris or Piccadilly Circus in London. Formerly called Longacre Square in the 1870s, Times Square takes its current name from the famous newspaper The New York Times, which moved its headquarters there in 1904 in a skyscraper over 110 meters high to get closer to the first metro line underground of the city, newly built. It was the mayor of the city at the time, George Brinton McClellan Jr. who decides to rename this New York district at the beginning of the 20th century.

With the event of the Great Depression (economic crisis of the 1930s following the stock market crash of 1929) and the conflict of the Second World War, Times Square changed radically. Its entertainment sites are moving towards questionable places of debauchery where delinquency, prostitution, corruption and crime thrive. It was not until the 1990s that the district began its moult and became frequentable again under the mandate of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who advocated zero tolerance. At the end of the 20th century, Times Square established itself as an essential tourist destination and one of the most emblematic places in the world. It is filled with luxury hotels, skyscrapers, giant billboards, scintillating lights and major entertainment venues. In 2009, the square was transformed into a pedestrian zone to streamline car traffic on the famous Broadway avenue. With more than 350,000 daily visitors on average, this “Crossroads of the World” as it is sometimes nicknamed, concentrates the busiest avenues on the planet. Much awaited, the New Year’s ceremony attracts around 1 million people to Times Square each year, in a festive atmosphere. This tradition dates back to the year 1907 when a fireworks display and a large bright time ball put in breath the inhabitants and tourists who came to gather on the famous square on December 31. Due to its dynamic, extravagant and disproportionate character, Times Square thus symbolizes the gigantism of American urban megalopolises.

Times Square is also known to house the theatre district of New York City (Broadway Theater District). The latter is equipped with numerous places of artistic performances, performance halls, cinemas and a large number of theaters installed between 40th Street and 57th Street, Eighth Avenue and the historic section of Broadway. Times Square occupies the rank of cultural and cinematographic epicentre of the “city that never sleeps”. Multiple events, attractions, shops and restaurants punctuate this recreational and mythical place in New York, day and night.

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  • The heart of New York entertainment, culture, animation and urban life
  • The multitude of towers and skyscrapers concentrated on a reduced space in the borough of Manhattan
  • The continuous effervescence of the symbolic district of the city which never sleeps (continuous presence of musicians, street artists, costumed characters…)
  • The illumination of buildings and the sprawling dimensions of advertising screens
  • The concentration of theaters, musical comedies, performance halls and music halls (including the Great White Way part of Broadway); the Midtown shopping district; the Rockefeller Center (business center and commercial complex around twenty buildings)
  • The pedestrian zone from 42nd to 47th Street freely accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; free long tables and chairs installed in Broadway; a great place to mingle and blend in with the crowd
  • The official website dedicated to the animation of Times Square
  • The New Year’s Eve party where song stars perform on stage, all in a rain of confetti, balloons, and a riot of pyrotechnic effects; animations organized during Christmas (a colossal fir and an ice rink dress the neighborhood)
  • The density of the sites to be visited around Times Square: Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York (mid-19th century), St Mary the Virgin Church (end of the 19th century), the French garden in Bryant Park (at the foot of skyscrapers), the New York Public Library (founded in 1895), Grand Central Terminal station (one of the largest railway stations in the world)…
  • Times Square is not a large square or plaza but a real neighbourhood in Manhattan. It was originally a street crossing between Broadway and 7th Avenue that became the headquarters and office of The New York Times. The building in question was the oldest skyscraper in New York. A symbolic centre of the city, it was demolished in the mid-1960s to make way for a larger and newer building. The New York Times Company, the American media group that owns the newspaper, has occupied a 319-metre-high skyscraper in the Midtown district of Manhattan since 2007 (it is one of the tallest buildings in New York).
  • The site of Times Square owes its celebrity to a photograph published in Life magazine in 1945 featuring an American soldier and a nurse kissing to celebrate the end of the Second World War. Far from the romanticism conveyed by this image (moreover all relative, since man and woman did not know each other before the famous kiss), this popular district was still, until the 80s, considered as a dangerous place.
  • In the heart of the 1970s, at the time of the film Taxi Driver, prostitutes, erotic shops, adult cinemas, daring shows, strip clubs, nightclubs and gambling were inseparable from Times Square. Between 11 pm and 5 am, its cinemas, theatres and shops were transformed into the capital of pleasure.
  • Under the impetus of the public authorities, Times Square underwent a profound transformation from the 1990s to become one of the highest tourist places in New York. 42nd Street today has nothing to do with the “most sordid neighborhood in America” described by Rolling Stone Magazine in 1981.
  • Yellow taxis are the only ones allowed to transport customers to Times Square, the other taxi colours being reserved for other neighborhoods.
  • On Valentine’s Day, Times Square hosts a giant heart-shaped artistic work that is the subject of a new competition each year. Couples have the opportunity to apply for marriage, which is broadcast live on one of the many giant screens in Times Square. A website allows you to officially apply to be selected by the organizers. Renewals of wedding vows are also orchestrated in the heart of New York City on Valentine’s Day for couples who want it.
  • In Times Square, several people, often in disguise, offer free hugs to tourists or souvenir photos in their company. If you accept, then it is customary to tip them. Please note, many of them openly display their susceptibility if the amount given seems too small to them. Distrust therefore remains in order, as well as for couples kissing under the kiss cam. Their romantic kiss is broadcast live on a giant screen, a moment often photographed by the couple. Far from being put off by being filmed and despite the vigilance of the police, sexual predators sometimes take advantage of it to touch (more or less discreetly) the buttocks of women being kissed. This is the reason why the kiss cam is off after 8 pm
  • The lowest prices for booking a Broadway show and the surrounding area are on Nytix (up to 90% discount). The TKTS Booth store also displays interesting discounts (up to 50%). It is located at 1564 Broadway, at the corner of 47th Street, under the red steps of Father Duffy Square.
  • At moments, Times Square literally swarms with people and people like vehicles keep coming together. This is why in a group, rather than being next to each other, it is better to follow each other by a set of three or four people maximum. This avoids being hit or lost.
  • The red steps in Father Duffy Square are the perfect place to take pictures in peace and without jostling. It is north of Times Square, between 7th Avenue and 47th Street West.
  • Illustrated by many successful films, Times Square is one of the best places in the world to spend Christmas. To warm up, New Yorkers like to drink hot wine or eggnog (a sweet drink, often alcoholic, made from milk, cream, spices, and egg yolks), admiring the numerous decorations for the end of year celebrations.

Where to eat

  • Pret A Manger
    (practical and fast)
  • Patzeria Family & Friends
    (friendly pizzeria)
  • K Rico South American Steakhouse
    (for carnassiers)

Where to go out

  • The Museum of Modern Art
    (rich in artworks)
  • Radio City Music Hall
    (mythical place)
  • Comcast building
    (observation platform)

Where to sleep

  • Hotel 31
    (comfortable little hotel)
  • Seton Hotel
    (charming establishment)
  • citizenM New York Times Square
    (modern and well-decorated)

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