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The ultimate Times Square guide

Nothing will prepare you for the overstimulation the first time you step into Times Square. The sidewalks are filled with a tremendous concentration of humanity - about 300,000 pedestrians pass each day - and the intersection of high-wattage marquees make sure it's always brighter until late at night. Named after The New York Timeswhose 1 Times Square address served as the headquarters of the newspaper from 1904 to 1913, the area is now an entertainment district and business hub, serviced by one of the busiest subway stations in the world. The neighborhood turned shabby in the second half of the 20th century, but over the past two decades it has become a safe, family-friendly destination that no visitor will want to miss. It's the place to drop the famous New Year's ball, catch the glitzy shows on Broadway and a number of other attractions. In this slide show we have collected tips on what to see, where to shop, what to eat and even inside information about some of the many colorful characters that can be spotted on the streets. Read on for more information. — staff

Where is it: Times Square covers the proper 42nd, 47th Streets, from Broadway to Seventh Avenue, but the neighborhood extends from around 40 to 53rd Streets, between Sixth and Eighth Avenues.

How to get there:Take 1, 2, 3, 7, A, C, E, N, [PORTO], Q or 42nd Street Shuttle to the Times Square-42nd Street / Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station.

Broadway theater

Seven days a week, visitors and locals pour 40 theaters on Broadway to enjoy the award-winning musicals, acclaimed revivals and star-studded plays that define Midtown's Theater District. Each season (June - May) typically sees an average of 40 new productions and participation for the 2014–15 year exceeded 13 million. It's this dedicated fan base that has made itThe Phantom of the Opera the longest running show currently (and actually always) on Broadway - more than 11,000 performances, and the number is rising. It's also why the Tony Awards, usually held, at Radio City Music Hall, originated in 1947– Although the history of Broadway theaters dates back to the 1890s, when the Empire, Olympia and Victoria were all built. (Note: the Lyceum and New Amsterdam are the oldest theaters that remain, both built in 1903).

Great White Way remains a quintessential part of New York City culture, a place not just to see the latest musicals but to indulge in the glamor of the entertainment scene; a view West 44th or 45th Street from Seventh Avenue shows Marquee after marquee - just as magical as the lights on Broadway. Helen Hayes is the smallest Broadway theater among other things at just under 600 seats (looking towards 44th to see the sign and the neoclassical facade of the Belasco, another intimate, historic place). Connecting 44th and 45th mid blocks between 7th and eight avenues is Shubert Alley, home, a free outdoor concert the week leading up to Tonys and an annual fall flea market and auction fundraiser and just one place to mill over during recess .

To browse what's playing and buy tickets to shows, visit our Broadway Guide. For deals of up to 50 percent off same day tickets for productions, visit the TKTS Discount Booth in Duffy Square. Bonus: the glazed cabin is bleach-style under a few steps, ideal for resting those tired legs and surveying the scene. -Andrew Rosenberg

Off Broadway .. and beyond

Broadway theaters are usually in the command spotlight, but there are other rewarding shows already in the starting blocks right on the Great White Way.

Off-Broadway instead of in theaters smaller than Broadway's (typically 100-499 seats versus 500-2,000), with ticket prices that can be less than half the cost of a Broadway show - with additional discounts on the TKTS booth. A number of these locations are concentrated on the western stretch of 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, right outside Times Square. Check out the shows at the Theater Series, a multi-story complex made up of six levels. Further down the block are two large, institutional theaters: Playwrights Horizons, which hosts working with new and established American playwrights; And the signature theater, known for its $ 35 cap on ticket prices, classic presentations and architect - a Frank Gehry.

New World Stages features shows ranging from scaled-down Broadway musicals such asAvenue Q to newer plays like thatGazillion Bubble Showwho has favourited celebrates the magic of oversized soapy balls.

There are also cabaret-style shows on Don't Tell Mama on Restaurant Row, a reliable place to see Broadway singers in an intimate setting. There is quirkier material at the Laurie Beechman Theater, a 100-seat space that has hosted like-one-acts and man / woman shows. Its current Thursday night mainstay, Broadway Sessions, is a late night revue with local actors who stop in for a song after their curtain calls.

But the music scene in Times Square goes beyond showing melodies: B.b. King Blues Club & Grill, the PlayStation Theater and City Hall all host a reliable slate of touring pop and rock acts, and jazz lovers can hear some of the best of the genre every night at Birdland.- Brian Sloan

Showstopping food

If you're looking for a dining experience as entertaining as the performances in the Theater District, look no further than Times Square.

The biggest new place on the stage could be City Kitchen, which is actually several facilities in the middle of the grocery hall. But still dominating attention since it opened in 2012 is the cheeky American Kitchen & Bar Guys. Why not stop by and see what all the fuss is about? Owner Guy Fieri, best known as the moderator of the Food NetworkDiners, drive-ins and dives, promises to take "Taste Town" with sashimi tacos, bacon personally, "cheeseburger and" triple double "pie.

If you want to experience the dinner theater, check out Ellen's Stardust Diner. The staff, who will serenade you, show tunes as you chow on American classics like burgers and malts. The rising stars here were already doing it on Broadway (so to speak), like this is where the 1950s style place (on the corner of West 51st Street) is.

Even a familiar place like McDonald's gets a glittering spin in Times Square. A visit to the location on West 42nd Street (open 24 hours a day) is a production: its large marquee makes those walking in feel like they're watching a Broadway show. In the same vein, Times Square is home to the world's largest Applebee's (on Broadway and West 50th Street). The three-story eatery is also one of the few Applebee's that serves early (open at 7) and breakfast. staff

Times Square food

The fastest treatment for Times Square overstimulation is a fortifying meal. Hidden in the midst of the glamor are independent, insider restaurants of different stripes.

The no-frills kung fu little steamed ramen rolls will satisfy cravings for Chinese soup dumplings, dim sum and noodles. Lazzara Pizza is the answer if you're craving a cheesy pepperoni pie. The Cuban comfort food at Margon is waiting in line for it's worth. This is especially true of the meaty sandwiches, octopus salad and fried fish with rice, beans and sweet bananas. In fact, the restaurant's Kulturpanorama district is as diverse as the masses of selfies. The tiny Gazala Square offers delicious druse food, NUM Pang TImes Square builds creative Cambodian sandwiches, and the Kati Roll company features fragrant, Indian wraps.

For light, fluffy Japanese food, look no further than Yakitori Totto - which serves grilled chicken on a stick - and Ippudo Westside for savory, flavorful ramen. Belgian beers and moules frites are the draws at BXL Café, while there are English and Scottish beers with a mind-boggling Scotch list and solid pub grub at the St. Andrews Restaurant & Bar. More on wine? Aldo Sohm Wine Bars & Wine Bars has a luxurious feel (it's a spin-off from Le Bernardin, after all), yet there are some steals under the bottles and Epicurean snacks on offer. The food and drinks at Hip Bea are all over the menu, and great for a post-theater meal as it is open until 1. Most of these places are glitzy but gold. -Julie Besonen

Really, really big retail

Like almost everything else located in the area, Times Square stores promise larger-than-life experiences - and they deliver. Take, for example, the 1,700 square meter MAC Cosmetics flagship. The exterior is illuminated in LED tiles, while the elegant interior has numerous make-up stations, touchscreen computers, and many make-up artists work on the floor.

As big as it is, the MAC store is overshadowed by its massive 90,000-square-foot location, including 151 locker rooms and over 30 checkouts to ring the brand's affordable merch. In addition to three floors of clothing, makeup and accessories, there is also a floor dedicated to men's fashion - rarely before that the brand - and girls' clothing. Night owls, take note: the Emporium is open until 2.

In contrast, the minimalism on Muji is refreshing. Located in the New York Times Building, this 4,350 square foot space, overlooking a quiet garden, resembles an downtown loft. Its high ceilings and windows complement the brand's understated approach. The shop stocks more than 2,000 quality products, from stationery and colored pencils to furniture, clothing and bedding.

Meanwhile, H&M 42nd Street outpost clocks in an impressive 42,000 square feet, with 44 dressing rooms and 24 cash registers that will hopefully keep long lines at bay. The store has a high tech, collaborative atmosphere with interactive mannequins, a virtual catwalk and social media lounge that has space to relax, free wifi and iPads. Another useful A.P.C of the store is that it allows customers to check out from the locker room while hampering any last minute decision insisting on unneeded accessories at the checkout. -Christina Parrella

Oldschool Times Square

When Times Square underwent a major facelift in the 1990s, there were some, well, less-than-savory establishments the area that the dust spice up a bit. But there were also permanent, perfectly reputable companies that survived these changes - though some, like 2014 victims of Café Edison and Smiths & Bar, eventually succumbed. So those who stay must have something special. One such place is Kaufman's Army and Navy, which has been at its current location since 1946. Looking for battery disconnect units, a watch cap, or a bridge coat? You have a good chance of finding or as good as other military surplus supplies in the packed aisles. A couple of spots are related to music: namely Alex musical instruments and Steve Maxwell vintage and custom drums. The former, founded in the late 1970s, recently moved from Music Row (48th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues) to West 53rd Street. It specializes in accordions, providing a true time warp in its appointment-only accordion museum. The latter, though less than ten years old, has the feel of a headstrong survivor. 3rd floor room has a bulletin board and a nice touch in front of the door and drums as far as the eye can see within its boundaries.

Continuing education on the subject of art, the drama book shop in some form since 1917, offers a nice addition to the theaters. If you want to dive into the pastProgram booklet You get just one drop off here when attending a show to find all kinds of manuscripts, memorabilia, and theatrical literature. A number of longtime local hangouts - Sardini, Joe Allen, Café Un Deux Trois - do pre- and post-theater food, but if you want to eat a real step backwards, push up Barebone Margon (already mentioned in the dining section, yes, we like it) on 46th Street. This Cuban diner, dating from around 1970, is quick, inexpensive, and delicious; fight your way to a place for your octopus salad or cuban sandwich. Whatever you've done during the day, you can't go wrong by ending your night at the boxing-themed dive bar at Jimmy's Corner. Friendly bartenders, reasonably priced drinks, a low key atmosphere, and a local crowd make this the oldest school of inns in the hood. -AR

Times Square Secrets

Although Times Square is among the most iconic spots in the world, it still holds its fair share of surprises for blue-eyed visitors and even seasoned locals.

One of the biggest secrets is an event that actually occurs every night. If you are just before midnight at Times Square - 11:57 pm to be precise - you will see more than 15 screens switched off at the same time, their glamorous advertising and display a coordinated work of digital art (sometimes even with sound) until the clock strikes midnight. The display is part of a creative called "midnight moment" in which trading temporarily gives way to art.

Of course, there is a night when this does not happen: New Year's Eve, an event that has a secret or two of its own. For example, includes confetti raining down at midnight wishes that are submitted by visitors to the Times Square Alliance digital webpage.

If you're looking for somewhere to eat or a beer kick back secretly check out the subway Sake Bar Hagi, which features Japanese Izakaya fare (and because of its hidden storefront isn't filled to the brim with tourists - though it's a lot crowded).

Some other "secrets" concern the area of ​​old theaters. For example there is a beautiful Greco-like mural in the AMC-Empire 25 links from the original Empire Theater and the Hard Rock Cafe was once the Paramount Theater where legends like Frank Sinatra and the Beatles performed - but even more interesting is the fact that the clock at the top of the tower, some 33 stories high, chimes as a curtain reminder for theater-goers.

After all, the famous 1 TImes Square building has a real tenant: Walgreens. Because of the advertisements covering their skin, the tower is still making many millions in revenue.-Alyson Penn

Do you like comedy

If you spend more than a few moments in Times Square, chances are someone will ask you who likes comedy. They're not just curious - these intrepid young men and women want to sell you tickets to events in places like Stand-up New York (which is actually on the Upper West Side).

Dyler Crews, who was 24 When we spoke to him in 2012, is one of the people who wants to know if you enjoy hearing people tell jokes. His motivation was twofold: First, he had money to sell tickets. And second, it was a way for the aspiring comedian who had moved to New York City from Georgia to get a foot in the door of stand-up New Yorkers. "It's about who you know," he argued. While he still had the mic on prime time, he scored "a few bits of stage time later at the end of the night." Dyler said he's a pretty successful salesman and has had no trouble making a living ("in one day, I can make anywhere from $ 200 to $ 400") but that sometimes New Yorkers don't like to hear his pitch. “They're like,“ I'm here. ”“ He doesn't disagree with such reactions. "I'm offering you dirt cheap tickets and alcohol!" It's a good time. "

Maybe, but it has to be said: if you like comedy and want to be sure of what your hard earned money is spending on, you can always buy ahead of time to see a plot you already know. Times Square Carolines on Broadway - which hosts heading sets by renowned artists like Kevin Nealon and Wanda Sykes - don't hawk tickets on the street. If you're looking for passes to one of his shows, you'll have to buy online or at the box office. Other good bets (outside of the neighborhood) include Gotham And the Comedy Cellar, while a number of other places offer city-wide cheap or free shows (our comedy calendar has suggestions). -Jonathan Zeller

Times Square Sign

Even by New York standards, Times Square offers a dense concentration of colorful, sensational men and women. Take, for example, the Naked Cowboy (aka Robert Burck), a young man who plays acoustic guitar in a cowboy hat and has incorporated skivvies into a full-fledged profession (follow your dreams, children). While his act and the concept behind it are bizarre, he takes the persecution very seriously and has sued his rival, the so-called Naked Cowgirl, for trademark infringement. He eventually dropped the charges but has started licensing his image to other budding naked cowboys and cowgirls. He even announced a run for president in 2012, although it appears no heavy election campaign ever took place.

Another prominent presence of Times Square is the abundance of Renegade Disney, Marvel and Sesame Street characters. These individually are not officially licensed by the character creator and usually wear costumes that seem a bit different from the real item. You might want to keep your distance - and remember, you are under no obligation to pay or tip them.

Happier to note costumed Broadway show promoters (such as cabaret gear forChicago) often use their talent and creativity to lure passers-by into their shows. And while smug New Yorkers don't often stop using the services of cartoonists, for visitors the drawings can be a fun personalized keepsake. staff

TImes Square billboards

Anyone who has walked across Times Square can attest to the blazing wonderland - a collection of brightly lit displays that reminded the artistic direction at Ridley ScottsBlade runner- is an unforgettable sight. It should come as no surprise to learn, for example, that there are 115,000 square feet of LED billboard in the area, and that doesn't even include traditional signs, street pole banners, garbage bins advertising and other neon displays positioned in the neighborhood. (On Times Square, if there's a surface, it can be sponsored.) With an average of 300,000 or so visitors to the area per day, the competition for attention is intense.

Bigger usually means better - as well as brighter, louder and, lately, more interactive. The newest mega-screen, on Broadway between 45th and 46th streets, is eight stories high, and howThe New York Times Reports almost as wide as a soccer field. Then there is MTVs 44½, a digital display across the street from the 1530 Broadway headquarters from the youth-oriented television station that broadcasts the station's programming live down the street. There are also retailers Forever 21 61 feet wide interactive digital "spectacular" (the traditional name for large displays TImes Square). The live models on the screen take pictures of the crowd assembled below the occasional individual weeding and drop him or her into a virtual shopping cart. All this makes the news ticker, which scrolls over 1 TImes Square, seem positively old school. Speaking of 1 Times Square, the building - formerly the seat of theThe New York Times- Now it houses some of the most valuable signage on the planet. Among the offered are the Fox screen from Sony, the high definition video and Walgreens 17,000-square-foot multi-panel display that plays an astonishing 250,000 pounds.— staff

Family fun

Back in the day, no responsible parent would let their child within 100 feet of Times Square - but those days are long gone. Child-friendly offers are not in short supply. Past 45th Street, little Mickey fansFrozenElsa and other Disney characters can peruse toys, apparel, housewares, DVDs and other goodies at the Times Square Disney Store. Visitors with a sweet tooth should find suitable snacks. Hershey's Chocolate World Times Square, where Hershey's brand treats, souvenirs and clothing await behind a 16-story facade. There's even a machine that lets you fit wrappers on Hershey's bars. Once they have filled their baskets with sugar, kids can send a message and then head outside to see scrolling text on the store. Over at M&MS World New York, families can pose for photos with a towering, candy-coated Statue of Liberty; Discover their "M&M 'Personality" by looking into the Color Mood Analyzer (scientific validity questionable); and printing pictures on their candy.

Pop culture fans will be delighted at the Madame Tussauds New York wax museum, which recently debuted true-to-life replicas of Pope Francis and Adriana Lima. They join portraits of over 200 celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Robert Pattinson, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Go ahead and claim that you have met them; Your Instagram followers may not know the difference (well, maybe they would know with Marilyn). And just because Times Square is now family-friendly doesn't mean it lacks oddities. Exhibit A is Ripley's believe it or not !, where shrunken heads, a giant hairball, and a six-legged cow are the norm. If none of that seems highly open-minded enough, consider putting on a show at the family-friendly New Victory Theater, whose productions cater for children. -Alyssa Grossman and staff

Times Square in Pop Culture

Even those who haven't seen Times Square in person have almost certainly seen you in photographs, on television, in the cinema, or even in video games. Here are a few well-known representations; for more information, keep your eyes open.

"Empire State of Mind":The video for this song, which you've undoubtedly heard movie reviews of high school students singing through the "concrete jungle where dreams are made" (the description is lavish if nonsensical), features Alicia Keys tickling the ivory with devotion to the pines Staircase near the TKTS booth.

Grand Theft Auto IVThe popular video game features a facsimile of Times Square. Keep your kids away from him.

Spider-Man:The young man, "does what a spider can" swings his way through Times Square (or a digitized version of it) in various blockbusters (Spider-MantheAmazing Spider-Man 2). The Times Square Alliance even named him the Official Superhero of Times Square, for what it's worth. Sponsorship deals notwithstanding, we have a feeling they wouldn't turn down help from Superman if Push came to shove.

taxi driver: No movie captures the bad old days of Times Square with more grain than this Scorsese classic.

Vanilla Sky: This film, not universally beloved by critics, stood out for its portrayal of the usually busy Times Square as completely empty during a dream sequence.

V-J Day in Times Square: The wordiconic Over the years, but it's fair to say that has lost luster this photo passes the test. The signature image of a sailor kissing a nurse in celebration of the Allied victory in World War II has been mimicked many times over the years.- JZ

Times Square Timeline

Here's a very quick look at the development of the neighborhood.

1800 s: Astor purchases Eden Farm, a swath of what is now TImes Square, for $ 25,000 in 1803. Eventually, the area is referred to as Longacre Square and serves as the location for the horse-drawn carriage industry.

December 1903 – January 1904:The New York TimesHeadquarters opens on New Year's Eve. The celebration - which includes fireworks - draws a large crowd and serves as the seed for the Times Square New New Year's Eve tradition.

April 1904: Times Square takes its name from thetimes Headquarters. The newspaper later moved (twice) but the name endures, and this skyscraper still serves as the location for the famous Ball Drop.

1920s:Broadway theater, once concentrated downtown, has now moved to near Times Square. According toThe New York City Encyclopediathe 1927–28 season brings a record 264 productions in 76 theaters.

1930s - 1980s: The area has seen a long decline and is known for vice and crime.

1986: The city has a special regulation to ensure Times Square's character: minimum brightness for on-site signs.

1990s: Attempts to revive the Times Square fruits with unsavory businesses leading to shops and tourist attractions. The transition invites some controversy, but makes the area a lot more family.

2009: Parts of Times Square are closed, car traffic, creating the pedestrian squares you see today.

2016: Kelloggs debuts a grain cafe, the first of its kind in Times Square. — staff

Kenneth Jackson'sNew York City Encyclopedia was invaluable in constructing this timeline.