Times Square, the most bustling square of New York is known for its many Broadway theatres, cinemas and supersigns. It is one of those places that make New York a city that never sleeps. At the start of the first World War, Times square was the center of the Theater district and attracted a large number of visitors. This made the square an ideal place for billboards.
TKTS Discount Booths (under the giant stairs in above photo) offer tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway musicals and plays at up to 50% off. With dozens of productions on sale every day, there’s something for everyone! However, we didn’t want to queue so bought tickets online to see Jesus Christ Super Star. Loved the show, loved the soundtrack, and loved the cute covered cups the beer came in.
In 1917 the first large electric display billboard was installed. 11 Years later, the first running electric sign was let for the first time, to announce Herbert Hoover’s victory in the Presidential elections. The billboards have become such a tourist attraction for the area, that the zoning now requires the buildings to be covered with billboards!
Times Square is jam-packed with some pretty big displays and Clear Channel unleashed the most immersive digital billboard ever in Times Square and we had a chance to be on the show! Can you spot us in the crowd?
Memorial Day is an American federal holiday observed annually on the last Monday of May. It is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.
As we were there during Memorial Day, we managed to catch some tanks and the military band play in Times Square. The atmosphere is simply electric. The sound for the video we took is slightly distorted due to the loudness of everything around, but we did manange to capture some of the energy and building in the area.
Most New Yorkers and visitors to Times Square know of The Naked Cowboy. For the past 10 years, he’s the guy you’ve seen on the sidewalk, with the great body, strumming his guitar and singing, dressed in a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and underwear — and nothing else, even in the dead of winter. Here’s a picture of me with all things New York – The Statue of Liberty, a pretzel, and the Naked Cowboy (although I think he’s not the original one).
At the beginning of the 20th century, the race for the tallest building in the world started and the Chrysler Building was the first building to top the then tallest structure, the Eiffel Tower. The Chrysler building is one of the last skyscrapers in the Art Deco style. The gargoyles depict Chrysler car ornaments and the spire is modeled on a radiator grille.
Since it was restored in 1996 it glitters again like it must have in the 1930s. The building’s Art Deco interior is even more magnificent than its exterior. The marble floors and many Art Deco patterns such as on the stylish elevator doors make the Chrysler Building one of New York’s most beautiful office towers.
Commonly referred to as ‘Grand Central Station,’ the historic Grand Central Terminal is a famous NYC landmark in Midtown Manhattan. Located on 42nd St and Park Ave, Grand Central is one of the busiest train stations in the world, and serves nearly 200,000 NYC commuters every day. Built in 1871, Grand Central Terminal is home to 44 train platforms, several great NY restaurants, and some of the most beautiful Beaux-Arts architecture in NYC.
Upon entering the terminal, we find ourselves at the Main Concourse. A world-famous rendezvous spot, the circular marble and brass pagoda in the center of the Main Concourse has a hidden, spiral staircase leading to the Information Booth on the Lower Level. During the restoration the clock was moved, just slightly, to align with the compass points of the building. If you have the time, I highly recommend joining the free (tip advised) walking tour by Justin and Peter conducted at 12.30pm every Friday. Meeting point is in the sculpture court at 120 Park Avenue.
The most notable feature of the Main Concourse is the great astronomical mural, from a design by the French painter Paul Helleu, painted in gold leaf on cerulean blue oil. Arching over the 80,000 square-foot Main Concourse, this extraordinary painting portrays the Mediterranean sky with October-to-March zodiac and 2,500 stars. The 60 largest stars mark the constellations and are illuminated with fiber optics, but used to be lit with 40 watt light bulbs that workers changed regularly by climbing above the ceiling and pulling the light bulbs out from above.
The Terminal’s Beaux Arts interior measures 275 feet long by 120 feet wide and the vaulted ceiling is 125 feet high. The arch windows are 60 feet high at each end. The floors are paved with Tennessee marble, and the walls are covered with a warm buff colored stone with wainscots and trimmings of cream-colored Botticino marble.
In the original 1913 architectural plans there were supposed to be two grand staircases. In true Beaux-arts style, they were to be balanced, but with a few small differences. But when Grand Central was opened on February 2, 1913 there was only one staircase. Do you know which one is the original? It’s the one behind me in the photo below.
There are beautiful melonshaped chandeliers on both sides of the Main Concourse and several more in Vanderbilt Hall. They were always thought to have been bronze but they had been covered with dirt for many years. The chandeliers were taken down and cleaned. Remarkably, with just one cleaning the glistening gold was revealed. Note the bare light bulbs. In 1913 electricity was new and not widely used by normal households, so the New York Central Railroad wanted to give the sense of grandeur, luxury, and opulence to its train terminal, and did this by showing off the nickel and gold- plated chandeliers with electric light bulbs.
These two ramps lead down to the lower level of Grand Central joining in front of the Oyster Bar. These ramps were hidden for almost 70 years. Back in 1927, the New York Central Railroad, the operating company at that time, decided that they needed more office space so they built an eight-foot wooden ceiling over the ramps. This made the ramps dark, narrow, and gave a tunnel-like feeling as you walked down to the Lowe Level train tracks. Recently, the ramps were opened up and brought back to their original splendor.
The Whispering Gallery, located at the end of both Oyster Bar Ramps when heading down to the Lower Level, is one of the bigger attractions in the Terminal and offers a phonic treat. Get two volunteers and put them in opposite corners facing the walls. A person can whisper into one of its corners and be distinctly heard diagonally across the gallery on the other side. Fun for all ages!
The Biltmore Room AKA Kissing Room is located right under the old famous Biltmore Hotel (now the Bank Of America building) and was where the famous 20th Century Limited train arrived. Celebrities, politicians, and soldiers would get off the trains to meet their loved ones and hug and kiss in the middle of the room before going up stairs into the Biltmore Hotel.
Rockefeller Center or Rockefeller Plaza is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Known as a city in the city, it is an exceptional example of civic planning. All buildings share a common design style, Art Deco, and are connected to each other via an underground concourse, the Catacombs.
Some 200 flagpoles line the plaza at street level. Variously flags of United Nations member countries, the U.S. states and territories, or decorative and seasonal motifs are flown. During U.S. holidays, every pole carries the Flag of the United States.
Radio City – One of the first buildings completed here was the RCA building, which served as the headquarters of the Radio Corporation of America. The tower, clad in Indiana limestone, is at 70 stories and 256 meters, the tallest of the complex.
Lego has been a long time toy tradition. It started by a carpenter from Denmark back in 1932 very humble beginnings. In June of 2010, they opened a store in Rockefeller Center. The shop was full of large Lego statues and models, and featured a wall with round Lego containers, sorted by shape and color, of which you could choose the exact Lego parts you needed, instead of buying a regular retail box. In the middle of the store stood a miniature model (made with lego of course) of rockafeller center.
Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare in the center of Manhattan. The section of Fifth Avenue that crosses Midtown Manhattan, especially that between 49th Street and 60th Street, is lined with prestigious shops and is consistently ranked among the most expensive shopping streets in the world.Some of the most coveted real estate on Fifth Avenue are the penthouses perched atop the buildings.