Times Square might be one of the best-known intersections in New York City. The flashing lights, sky-high billboards, bustling foot traffic and endless activity make it a must-visit spot for tourists and an often-traveled area of the city for locals. The plaza’s walking spaces and advertising have been pictured in movies and television shows for decades, but there’s a side of Times Square that isn’t seen very often. In fact, Times Square has its own set of secrets that make it a historical marvel and a modern masterpiece. BlueOrange Travel, located in the heart of Manhattan, knows all the Times Square things to do and see.
TImes Square Things to Do and What to See
Sidewalk Sound Installation
Tucked beneath a subway grate in Times Square is an art installation that you can hear. Twenty-four hours and day, if you’re close enough to the sidewalk to hear it, there’s a consistent, synthesized humming sound. Created by artist Max Neuhaus, the sound, called simply “Times Square,” is a consistent whir that has played almost constantly since it was placed there in 1977.
An Inlaid Map of Broadway
If you’re feeling lost, just a half of a block north of Times Square is just what you need to find yourself again. In the ground, is a 28-foot inlaid map of 40 Broadway theaters. The granite and stainless steel sidewalk decoration also serves as a memorial to famous Great White Way legends, the composers, writers and more.
If you look up across the street from the Broadway map you’ll find statues decorating the facade of what was once Israel Miller’s Shoe Store. Known for dressing the feet of New York’s most famous actors and dancers in the 1910s and 20s, Miller’s statues show famous performers like Ethel Barrymore in fitting, dramatic poses.
The Lobby of AMC Empire 25
Once you buy your tickets for the latest Hollywood blockbuster, take your time and look around in the lobby of the AMC Empire 25. When it opened in 1912, this theater was called the Eltinge. In the 1950s it was renamed the Empire. Today, the proscenium, ceiling and box seats provide the lobby ambiance for the movie theater. Look for the sphinxes on the ceiling and a mural of dancing women.
One Times Square
One Times Square might be the emptiest building in Midtown Manhattan, but it is also one of the most profitable. The 25 -storey building is coated with advertising. Billboards cover the exterior so completely, that anyone inside anything above the ground floor wouldn’t be able to see out the windows. Now the building is home to the New Year’s Eve Ball on the upper floors and a Walgreens at street level.
The Door to the Knickerbocker Hotel
Look on Track 1 along the S line that connects Times Square and Grand Central. There’s a sign reading “KNICKERBOCKER” and an unassuming door that once lead to the Knickerbocker Hotel and one of the city’s elite bars. In the 1920s, this is where the city’s most famous residents, like the Rockefellers, came for cocktails and to visit. Today this door is sealed, but the history and air of mystery remain.
Subway Street Scenes
In the 42nd Street-Times Square subway station, be sure to look for the 35 ceramic reliefs that illustrate city street scenes. Glazed in bright colors and set into the glass-tiled walls of the hallway, each artwork shows the spirit, energy and personality of the area. Bronx artist Toby Buonagurio’s works were installed in 2005 and each show some aspect of Midtown Manhattan: fashion, performing arts, street life and more.
No visit to Times Square is complete without a stop at John’s Pizza. Housed in what once was the Gospel Tabernacle Church, this pizza joint shines with much of the original interior still in tact. Dine under chandeliers, stained glass ceiling decorations, a balcony fit for a choir and more. Enjoying a slice in this ambiance makes it an almost religious experience.
Follow BlueOrange Travel’s advice for all the Times Square things to do and see and enjoy a distinct and unforgettable visit. Contact BlueOrange when you are ready to plan your visit to the Big Apple or anywhere in the world.