Facts About Times Square That Will Blow You Away

The last time my family and I stepped foot into the heart of Times Square was over five years ago. We returned this year and what a difference. Unlike most places that barely change with the times, Times Square changes in a New York City minute.

Facts About Times Square That Will Blow You Away - Times square at night, nyc
Times Square at Night

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Times Square is one of the most famous places in the world. It’s known as the “Crossroads of the world” or “Where all Roads Meet”. Either way, it’s a sight to be seen.

The neon lights up some of the most expensive advertising billboards in the world.

Crossroads of the world - Times Square
Crossroads of the world – Times Square

Since I was last here, the main changes that I have found are that they have closed off some roads and made it for pedestrians only. Finally, you don’t have to worry about getting run over while looking at the chaos that is all around you (on the ground and above).

Now there are superheroes and Sesame Street creatures all over the place wanting to take photos with your kids. This is all super fun, but each one of them demands a payback and in less than five minutes you can be out over 20 bucks, and you barely made it three steps.

Times square for kids, nyc

My advice, get as many of them together as you can, and $1 per character is enough.

Warning – they will go after you demanding more money, totally ruining the moment for you, but you stand your ground and your kids don’t have to see how mommy and daddy fight with their favorite comic book hero or other furry creature. 

Check out these Best Hotels for Experiencing New York Time’s Square for more of beautiful sights and sounds in Times Square.

Facts About Times Square - Family fun at times square, nyc

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Fun Facts About Times Square

  • Times Square is a major commercial intersection and a neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, at the junction of Broadway (now converted into a pedestrian plaza) and Seventh Avenue

  • Times Square – better known as “The Crossroads of the World”, “The Center of the Universe” and the “The Great White Way”

  • It is one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry.

  • Approximately a 335,000 people pass through Times Square daily

  • Before and after the American Revolution, the area belonged to John Morin Scott, a general of the New York militia, in which he served under George Washington.

  • 1872 – the area had become the center of New York’s carriage industry.

  • 1904 – Formerly Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in April 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building.

  • 1904 – the first electrified advertisement appeared on the side of a bank at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway.

  • 1907 – 1908 On December 31, 1907, a ball signifying New Year’s Day was first dropped at Times Square, 42nd St., and the Square has held the main New Year’s celebration in New York City ever since.

  • 1913 – the Lincoln Highway Association, headed by entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher, chose the intersection of 42nd Street and Broadway, at the southeast corner of Times Square, to be the Eastern Terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across the United States.

  • 1937 – The northern triangle of Times Square is technically Duffy Square, dedicated in 1937 to Chaplain Francis P. Duffy

  • 1930’s – The general atmosphere changed with the onset of the Great Depression. Times Square acquired a reputation as a dangerous neighborhood in the following decades.
  • Mid-1990s – Rudolph Giuliani led an effort to clean up the area, increasing security, closing theaters for adults, pressuring undesirables to relocate, and opening more tourist-friendly attractions and upscale establishments.
  • 2001 – The Duffy Statue and the square were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • As the growth in New York City continued, Times Square quickly became a cultural hub full of theaters, music halls, and upscale hotels.

  • The theaters of Broadway and the huge number of animated neon and LED signs have long made them one of New York’s iconic images, and a symbol of the intensely urban aspects of Manhattan.

  • Times Square is the only neighborhood with zoning ordinances requiring building owners to display illuminated signs.

  • 2008 – Times Square’s first environmentally friendly billboard powered by wind and solar energy was first lit on December 4, 2008.

  • 2011- In February 2011, Times Square became smoke-free as New York extended the outdoors smoking ban to the area. The measure fines any person smoking within the area a fee of $50.

  • It costs between $1.1 million and $4 million a year if you want to buy one of those flashy, digital or neon billboards that light up New York’s Times Square, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Which were your favorite facts about Times Square from the list? Do you have any other to add to the list?

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Facts About Times Square That Will Blow You Away

Last Updated on September 13, 2023

12 thoughts on “Facts About Times Square That Will Blow You Away

  1. Great info. I had no idea. I just have to say, “All Roads Lead to Rome,” not Times Square. But, it’s perfectly ok if they want to pretend. 🙂

  2. I am so impressed by your ability to stand your ground in the face of a multitude of super heroes! These posts are both educational and so much fun to read! Always a pleasure!

  3. I was in Times Square last summer when someone tried to shoot a security officer – thanks, Rudy!

  4. I love NYC… Time Square has long been one of our family favourites… day and night! 🙂

  5. You’re right- NY changes fast! My kid used to have dance classes by Times Square- the trick to not getting accosted is just to keep walking:)

  6. The architecture and design loving side to me is really keen to see Times Square and I don’t think I’ll be the first person ever to put it top of my sightseeing list when we finally reach America.

    Looks like a fun place to to hang out, laugh and do some first-class people watching.

    1. Hey Dale, the architecture is cool in Times Square, but downtown NY is way way more fun for some with a real interest in it.

  7. Oh, wow, $1.1 million to $4 million for those signs is a huge chunk of change!

  8. Love your advice on how to deal with Spider Man, Elmo and the rest of take-your-picture-with-me gang. Smart!

    1. Hey Terry,
      Yeah, I was pretty shocked at the harassment that was legal there.

  9. “I am so impressed by your ability to stand your ground in the face of a multitude of super heroes.” hehe. This comment from Bret is just what I was thinking but he said it funnier than I could! It sorta ruins the mystique when there are 3 Elmos all standing around together and at least one of them has gotten hot or annoyed and taken their “head” off. I had always wondered what people paid them for photos. A few weeks ago we ended up watching one of the silver, non-moving man statues losing his rag because people were taking photos without paying.

    1. Key Kate,

      ok, seeing one of those guys go off is definitely a trip in itself and totally TOTALLY ruins the experience for me. I understand they are there to earn money, but it’s not like he is clocking in to get paid, he is there cuase he wants to be as well – or so we think.

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