One of the most visited spots of the world, Times Square in Manhattan, New York city, is a major intersection in Midtown Manhattan (at Broadway and 7th Ave). It consists of the blocks between 6th Ave. and 8th Ave from East to West and west 40th to West 53rd from south to north. According to Forbes, more than 35 million tourists visit Times Square annually.
It was originally called Longacre Square and later renamed Times Square (in 1904) after the Times Building (now One Times Square), the former office building of the New York Times newspaper.
On New Year’s Eve, there is a “New Year’s Eve Ball Drop” at Times Square for which hundreds of thousands of people gather at the Square. The “ball drop” is actually a well lit Ball of crystal and electric lights (by Waterford Crystal) being lowered from atop the building, One Times Square. The ball descends over the last minute before the clock hits midnight. It comes to rest at the bottom of its pole at 12 A.M.
How to get to Times Square –
The best way to get there is the Subway (Metro). One can drive too since there are parking garages nearby but the most convenient and time saving way would be to take the Subway. Numerous trains go to Times Square – N, Q, R, W, B, D, F, V, 7, S, A, C, E, 1, 2 and 3.
If you happen to visit New York City, Manhattan would definitely be on the list of places to visit. And though Manhattan has innumerable places, museums, stores to visit there is no better place for fun and to experience the energy of the city than Times Square.
Times Square is a place where you can walk around and do absolutely do nothing but take in the lights, sounds and the energy of the people which merges with the energy of the place giving it the unique New York flavor. There is a reason that New York captivates you like no other city. It is a melting pot. It is unpredictable. It is raw and beautiful – all in one. In case you are wondering what else Times Square has other than this subjective energy vibes, it does have numerous stores and restaurants and world-famous Broadway shows.
The first thing you would notice is the sky-scrapers that dominate the streets. As you walk on the 7th Avenue and walk to 42nd street, there’s much to take in.
There’s AMC – a multi-floored movie plex. Catch up on the latest movies at this place. Close to it you would find Madame Tussaud’s. This is a wax museum exhibiting wax statues of many famous personalities from Bon Jovi to the Pope to Obama and stars of the movie and music world. This is a popular destination for people visiting Times Square. Tickets are on the expensive side. Sometimes they have some promotion going on. Also, once inside they also have a nice gift shop where you can get some personal wax work done like take a cast of your hands in wax etc.
Near to the Wax Museum is Ripley’s believe it or Not. It has a lot of weird exhibits including shrunken heads from South American tribes, animals with extra limbs, items from the Titanic etc. This museum personnel standing outside their premise calling visitors in and sometimes handing out some promotions.
Times Square area is also home to many Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Lion King, Marry Poppins, the Phantom of the Opera and several others play in the theaters here. You can book the tickets for this on sites like Ticketmaster or you can also buy it at the box office. Buying at the box office is cheaper. In case you are not particular about which show to watch, you can go to the TKTS kiosk in Times Square (under the red steps) and buy tickets for sometimes even 50% off. There’s a screen which shows which show tickets are viable and for how much discount. The only catch is that you would get these only about an hour or half an hour before the shows and you cannot choose the seats. You would have to take what is available.
If you have a sweet tooth, apart from all the cafes and eateries here, you can also indulge in M&Ms from a multi-storied store dedicated to just that – M&Ms. There are M&M merchandise as well as M&Ms sold by weight. You can mix and match the colors and buy by weight.
There’s Hard Rock Cafe where you can pose and take pictures in front of all kind of guitars as well as guitars of famous musicians. The food is good and the music is great. You can opt to buy their merchandise as well. The wait times are long on weekends. On weekdays too, you’ll find it quite crowded.
Dave & Busters is near AMC. If you want to get your hands on some arcade games and let the kids loose where they can have a great time playing followed by food and soda, Dave and Busters it is.
The square where the New Year’s event takes place is brightly lit with large screens and you will see many entertainers performing on the streets. There are tables and chairs where you can sit and enjoy the place. Traffic is restricted here and ample facility for seating is available. Hence there’s plenty of space to sit even when it is crowded. Many costumed people walk around here with whom you can take pictures for a price. There will be people standing like statutes and performing other entertaining acts for which onlookers can give money. Amongst this group you might find the “naked cowboy” or the “naked cowgirls” strumming a guitar.
The site of the New Year’s ball drop is the Times Building. It is One Times Square. This is where the New York Times moved its headquarters in 1904.
Another place one can visit in this area is Planet Hollywood which was established by Robert Earl. It is a Hollywood-themed restaurant with huge number of memorabilia of actors and movie personalities. These are framed and mounted on the walls and the whole vibe is cheerful. This is a family-friendly restaurant.
The Disney Store would be a definite stop if you have little ones. With plenty of Disney themed items on sale, this store is often crowded.
One of the attractions here is the NYPD presence. Along with the NYPD cars you would also see them on horses. They are of course on duty but then visitors love taking pictures with them.
There would be people selling tickets to bus tours, river cruises and even late night stand-up comedy. The comedy shows take place a little away from the main area but it is usually good. They have mandatory buying of at least two drinks (or buy water for the same price if you don’t drink). This is not for kids.
Though there’s much to see and do at Times Square people do find the streets overwhelming. There are homeless people camped at some corners and it smells of weed. It is loud and bright but in a good way. It is good to be wary and keep your belongings close.
There are many places that lie close to Times Square. You can walk to Bryant Park, and along walk to Chrysler Building. There’s also the Grand Central Terminal within walking distance. The New York Library is also close by.