Without a doubt, one of New York’s most popular landmarks is Times Square. Here are nine facts you may not have known about Times Square.
Almost everything can be seen or heard on Times Square, from impatient drivers and their horns to tourists taking countless snapshots. All of those are just a tiny part of the essence that makes this place what it is. Due to its location, in central Manhattan, the number of people passing through is in the millions. However, despite all of the madness and chaos, Times Square is packed with historic bits and pieces that are hard to find. Let’s take a look at the things this iconic location has to show.
ONE TIMES SQUARE GENERATES ENORMOUS PROFIT EVEN THOUGH IT’S MOSTLY VACANT
While the ball drop at New Year’s Eve makes it very popular, this piece of architecture has little else to offer. Built in 1904, a time when the city was only starting to develop, with the purpose serve as the HQ building of the New York Times. It was only reconstructed into the huge advertising board that it is today in 1995 by the Lehman Brothers. It is now owned by Jamestown Properties. Apart from the first three stories and the top one, which are being rented, the rest of the space is completely empty. However, that huge advertising board brings more than $20 million annually.
THE CURRENT NAME, TIMES SQUARE, HAS ONLY BEEN AROUND FOR A CENTURY
Longacre Square was the first name of the place. It was named Times Square only after the New York Times brought their HQ in 1904. The thing is, although the word square is in both names, it’s actually not one. Times Square actually has the shape of a triangle.
ONCE UPON A TIME, IT WAS NOT AS DECENT AS TODAY
It’s not a widely known fact that during the ‘60s, ‘70s and ’80 of the 20th century, Times Square was completely opposite of today, in terms of safety and popularity. In that period people would go anywhere in New York but there. It was the place where prostitution and adult industry thrived the most. Also, it was the fear of all the other criminal activity in the area that kept people out.
A SOUND IS COMING FROM BELOW AND IT’S NOT UNINTENTIONAL
The textured sounds originate from a subway grate. According to its creator, Max Neuhaus, the constant loop of sounds is intentionally created to not be simply noticed by everyone, but only the adventurous individuals.
THE MURALS BEAUTIFYING THE SUBWAY ARE PAINTED BY ROY LICHTENSTEIN
Lichtenstein, born and bred in New York, created this masterpiece for the subway. Using comics as a source of inspiration, this mural portrays a train from the future which shoots through the subway.
THE FRAGMENTS OF HISTORIC LUXURIOUS THEATERS CAN STILL BE SEEN
In the beginning of the 20th century, Times Square was the heart of the city’s Theater Districts. Many theaters were built there, and some of them were pretty luxurious. Most of these structures, however, ended up either in ruins or repurposed as movie theaters and porno theaters after the Great Depression. Nevertheless there are still fragments of those dazzling structures at a number of locations.
TIMES SQUARE WAS THE LOCATION OF THE NATION’S MOST FAMOUS KISS
Although it is still unknown who the people in the picture are, the whole world has seen the photograph, taken on Times Square, of a soldier kissing a nurse which marks the end of WWII. That particular photograph was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt.
THE EXISTENCE OF A HARD-TO-FIND BAR WHERE POPULAR BROADWAY ACTORS HANG OUT
Located in a townhouse on W. 46th Street, many popular theater actors visit this hidden establishment called Bar Centrale. Although it’s not the only bar of its type in the city, this bar does offer the utmost discretion.
IT IS SO BRILLIANTLY ILLUMINATED IT CAN BE SPOTTED FROM SPACE
If you don’t pay attention to your watch, it’s really easy to lose track of time on Times Square. The way it has been lit, it can easily fool you into thinking its natural daylight. It is visible from outer space.