, Fri, September 11, 2015
Map courtesy of the Times Square Alliance
It looks like Mayor de Blasio’s wish of coralling the costumed characters and topless performers in Times Square may be coming true. The Daily News reports that the Times Square Alliance has endorsed the “Times Square Commons” plan, which Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmen Daniel Garodnick and Corey Johnson publicized in an op-ed in the paper yesterday.
The proposal would rezone Times Square’s pedestrian plaza so that instead of being mapped as a street it would become a special district called Times Square Commons. This area would be divided into three zones: general civic zones, which would feature tables and chairs and arts events; pedestrian traffic flow zones, areas to walk with no physical obstructions; and the aforementioned designated activity zones, small slivers of space that “would allow any activity involving the immediate exchange of money for goods, services or entertainment.”
More this way
Here’s our first look at a four-star, 290-room hotel set to rise just south of Times Square at 252 West 40th Street. Developed by OTO Development, the 20-story, 147,000-square-foot hotel will be the South Carolina-based company’s third venture in the city.
The 230-foot-tall midrise will be designed by Helpern Architects. According to their website, “the project is targeted to cosmopolitan, fashion-alert urban millennials and is expected to set a new standard and trend for the independent business traveler.”
More details this way
- The Brooklyn Half Marathon is this Saturday; some streets will be closed and the race ends at the Coney Island boardwalk. Good luck to all! [Sheepshead Bites]
- Foreign money: This map shows the city’s Chinese-backed real estate developments. [Curbed]
- As “Mad Men” signs off, a bench outside the Time-Life Building in Midtown will immortalize Don Draper for the summer. [Pentagram]
- Six tiny NYC back yards prove you don’t need a lot of space to enjoy the al fresco life. [Dwell]
- How to properly Google your neighborhood and find all the scary stuff (assuming you really want to). [BrickUnderground]
Image: Don Draper bench installation (L); AirBnB Brooklyn Half via Facebook (R)
Although Times Square has transformed into a commercial beast filled to the brim with advertising, its very sordid and seedy past is certainly not lost on us. One man who found himself in the midst of the area when it was considered the worst block in town was Sheldon Nadelman.
From 1972 to 1980, Nadelman worked at Terminal Bar—the city’s “roughest bar” by many accounts—directly across from the Port Authority. Between pouring drinks, Nadelman found himself snapping photos of the folks who passed through. Over his decade-long stint, he accumulated a collection of more than 1,500 photos. His subjects were diverse ranging from actors to cooks to business people to tourists to, of course, the pimps and prostitutes that roamed the surrounding streets.
Watch the video here
When John Jacob Astor IV built the Knickerbocker Hotel in 1906, he launched a generation of luxury Times Square hotels. The Beaux Arts masterpiece attracted the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, John D. Rockefeller, and Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. It was the birthplace of the martini and the site where the sale of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees took place. But after just 15 years, the hotel’s success declined just as fast as it emerged and it was repurposed as an office space, later becoming the Newsweek Building.
Today, though, the landmark is reclaiming its title of ultimate luxury hotel under its original moniker. After a two-year, $240 million modern renovation, the Knickerbocker offers 330 guest rooms, a rooftop bar and lounge with the ultimate view of the Times Square ball drop, and a foodie destination restaurant from chef Charlie Palmer.
Uncover the history and future of the Knickerbocker
And not out of boredom. Sebastian Errazuriz has created a new public art piece for Times Square that is the antithesis of the high-energy, fast-paced neighborhood. It’s a close-up, black-and-white, three-minute video of the artist looking around and yawning that plays on 50 digital billboards throughout Times Square, which triggers a domino effect of sleepy, open mouthed gaping, since we all know yawns are contagious.
Errazuriz’s idea was to instill “a pause in the city that never goes to sleep,” which informs the title of the work. The yawn-athon takes place every night through January 17th at 11:47pm from 42nd to 47th Streets between Broadway and 7th Avenue.
More (yawn) details ahead
As New Yorkers, we don’t really think of Times Square as a romantic location, but for Valentine’s Day 2015 we might just stand corrected.
Brooklyn-based architecture firm Stereotank was announced as the winner of the annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design contest, a public art competition held for the past seven years by the Times Square Alliance and the Architectural League of New York. Stereotank’s HEARTBEAT installation is an interactive, heart-beating, glowing urban drum.
More on HEARTBEAT ahead