There are certain places you’ve seen a million times on TV and in films, so when you finally get there yourself they feel strangely familiar (even if you’ve never been there before.) Times Square was one of those places. It’s the vision of New York everyone imagines – the skyscrapers, the crowds, the yellow cabs.
This flashy, modern square was once one of the more destitute areas of the city. In the 1970s the economic crash left it abandoned to X rated movie theatres and seedy hotels. In the 1990s Mayor Rudolph Giuliani cleaned up the area and attracted many respectable retail chains: turning it into the stylish shopping and nightlife destination it is today.
Times Square is a dizzying kaleidescope of flashing lights and high-octane consumerism. Multi-storey high billboards crowd around you on all sides. Advertisements flash for the hottest films, products and brands of the moment. Neon signs light up the night – creating a permanent twilight even at 3am. Under the glow of advertisements, huge crowds of people flow down sidewalks and weave across streets.
There’s always something spectacular to see in Times Square.