Times Square, more like an intersection then a square, is the unofficial heart of the unofficial capital of the world, sometimes nicknamed "the crossroads of the world". It is the heart of the Theater District and the entertainment center of New York, it consists of about 14 blocks situated between 6th and 8th Avenue with Broadway intersection in Midtown Manhattan. Times Square, originally named after the New York Times that had their headquarters on the square, was once a dirty place filled with sex shops and obscure clubs, but today it is flashy with all its neon lights, advertizement and theaters. Many large hotels and restaurants are located at Times Square. Times Square, more an intersection then a square, is very crowded and many strange, sometimes funny people are entertining or trying to get people to the theaters, creating a feeling of a freakshow or an amusement park. Every New Years Eve there is a countdown to the new year, and they drop a crystal ball (formerly a neon apple) at the shift of the year. There is a famous webcam at Times Square. We visited Times Square several times, but it looks the most exciting after dark.
The heart of Times Square:
The south part of Times Square's heart at Broadway, filled with flashing neon advertizement. Note the crystal ball on top of the middle section, where you can see it is 2011! It will be dropped on New Years Eve. The building it is placed on is called One Times Square (formerly New York Times HQ that the square is named after), in front of the taller Times Square Tower.
The north part of Times Square's heart, officially called Duffy Square, also filled with flashing neon advertizement on Renaissance Hotel. Especially recognizable is the Coca-Cola sign.
Close-up of the Coca-Cola ad on Renaissance Hotel and Novotel's only hotel in the USA (left).
Looking south from the red stairs at Times Square's north part (Duffy Square), crowded with people. The Father Duffy Monument can be seen to the right.
7th Avenue, looking towads Marriott Marquis in the center of Times Square. Since 2009 parts of Times Square has been pedestrianized, these parts have been painted in blue or red. It is since 2011 also a smoke free zone.
Marriott Marquis, the most famous hotel at the heart of Times Square. The hotel is New York's 2nd largest (by no of rooms, it has 1 949) and has the tallest atrium in the world. Fast glass enclosed elevators take people fast to the top, where you can find a revolving bar. The hotel was designed by the famous architect John Portman and was completed in 1985. The Marquis Theater is situated inside the hotel, to compensate for the fact that 5 old theaters were demolished to make way for the hotel, that was the starting point for the redevelopment of the then rundown Times Square.
The glass elevators at the world's tallest atrium inside Marriott Marquis. At the moment the lobby was under renovation so they could only be seen from below the lobby.
The world's tallest atrium (45 floors) inside Marriott Marquis. There is a partly similar Marriott Marquis in Atlanta.
Winter Garden that shows the Swedish "Mamma Mia!" ABBA musical.
Astor Place (left) is a 227 m tall skyscraper from 1972 that serves as the headquarters of Viacom, that owns MTV. Because of that many MTV shows take place inside the building. To the right is Marriott Marquis.
4 Times Square of Conde Nast Building is a 48-storey, 348 m tall (incl. mast) skyscraper completed in 2000. During my visit in 1998, I saw it u/c.
Times Square Tower (220m) to the left and Times Square Plaza (180m) to the right are both postmodern parts of the recent redevelopment of Times Square.
Bertelsmann Building, designed by the famous Skidmore, Owings and Merril, was built in 1990 and is 223m with the spire. It includes the original Planet Hollywood restaurant and the world's largest record store, Virgin Megastore until it closed in 2009.
A cool thing in Bartelsmann Bldg, above Forever 21 store (formerly Virgin Megastore, the world's largest record store), opposite Marriot Marquis: The girl on the huge screen "takes random pictures" of the people on the ground and shows it afterwards, if you are lucky you could be featured on the screen above Times Square. It is me and my girlfriend on the red ring!
Broadway looking East, towards Bryant Park and Chrysler Building.
Hard Rock Café. Inside you can find guitars by the members of The Beatles.
Hard Rock Café at Times Square is really big and features a museum.
Crowne Plaza is the tall postmodern hotel above the adds.
Hard Rock Café and Bertelsmann Building.
The original Planet Hollywood restaurant, in the Bertelsmann Building.
Times Square is like a freakshow with many crazy people, here a shouting man selling "Obama condoms"!
The famous "naked cowboy" and the "naked cowgirl" have finally found each other!
Elmo and Mickey/Minnie Mouse at Times Square.
Nygård is a Finish-Canadian-Swedish fashion designer, making women's wear. It is Peter Nygård on the picture.
This is underneath the sign of a really large and flashy McDonald's that we visited. Note the unusual police car.
42nd Street redevelopment, west Times Square:
The Westin Hotel was built in 2002. It has 45 stories and was designed by Arquitectonica as part of the E Walk enterteinment complex, a redevelopment procect that includes restaurants and theaters.
Westin from below.
The narrow atrium has a lot of escalators and despite being so new, the lobby is furnished in 70s earth color. So the Westin doesn't look so new inside as the exterior does.
Westin with the black clouds on the friday, the day before the hurricane Irene should arrive.
Regal Cinemas, part of the E Walk.
A recent development at Times Square with new buildings Westin, Reuters Building (the famous news agency) and Conde Nast Bldg.
The same intersection, but with traffic of people that want to escape from Irene!
The futuristic Madame Tussaud's of New York has glass enclosed panorama elevators.
Hilton Times Square and Madame Tussaud´s wax museum. Looks like made of LEGO.
The Transformer Bumblebee inside Ripley´s Museum.
Towards Columbus Circle with E Walk to the right.
One Worldwide Plaza is the 237m tall postmodern skyscraper from 1989 (it is nice that it looks much older because of the retro style), behind 785 Eight Avenue building from 2009 with its diagonal roof.
Looking west towards the new New York Times Tower.
The New York Times Tower. This is the newspaper that Times Square was named after. Their new headquarters is located 2 blocks west of Times Square.
The New York Times Tower is the new headquarters of NY Times, that was completed in 2007. It was designed by Renzo Piano and is 319m tall to the top of the spire and has 52 floors. The building has a roof garden. Currently (2011), it is the 4th tallest building in New York!
Milford Plaza, a classic New York hotel that has 1 300 rooms and is the city's 6th largest.
W Hotel Times Square from 2001.
The north part of the heart of Times Square, with the postmodern Crowne Plaza Hotel to the left.
Some LEGO looking highrises above a Duane Reade, a pharmacy chain that you can find everywhere in New York.
W 42nd Street, just west of Times Square.
Only in America! (I don't think people that wear a gun care about the sign!)
The subway (metro) has its own neon sign at Times Square, otherwise it couldn't be found!
The Disney Store and Mamma Mia at Winter Garden.
FDNY, Fire Department New York.
Limo near Times Square.
Ambassador Theater with its "Chicago" musical.
Broadway immediately to the north of Times Square.
Metlife Building seen from Times Square.
Looking towards Bryant Park. Note the sunny Santa Claus drinking Pepsi.
Just East of Times Square:
Corona beer advertizment and the cool postmodern 750 Seventh Ave building to the left. To the right is part of Rockefeller Center.
Times Square by night:
Times Square is best looking after dark, it really comes alive when the neon lights glow and the Broadway theaters have their shows.
Times Square by night at the North part of its heart.
Waiting at the entrance to Marriott Marquis after a sudden rain and thunderstorm!
Some people dares to get out.
Even the police station has a neon sign at Times Square, behind Coke and vodka! Note the heavy rain!
We ate at this Famiglia pizzeria on Broadway. Good pizza slices, but very stressful atmosphere!
Looking towards W Hotel and Marriott on Broadway.