Strolling in Times Square in NYC
Times Square is the most popular square in the US and the most visited place in Manhattan. While visiting NYC, you’ll end up walking around this quirky, colourful and always-on-the-go square over and over again. It is simply a crowded and art-free place for many New Yorkers, but it is truly a unique place for us tourists. Despite this, in the mid-1900s, Times Square and the surrounding streets were one of the dangerous areas of the metropolis, devoid of any attraction. In the early 1990s, Times Square slowly became one of the Big Apple’s most crowded and sparkling areas thanks to an intensive crime recovery and repression plan (called zero tolerance) carried out by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Today, its hundreds of maxi LED screens that create an incredible play of lights attract millions of tourists. The square is the beating heart of NYC, frequented by dozens and dozens of street artists, people dressed as famous Disney characters photographed with tourists and extravagant characters, including the famous Naked Cowboy, a guitarist who plays practically naked. There are famous themed restaurants such as Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Cafè, flagship stores of famous brands such as the M&M’s shop, the Disney Store with two floors full of Disney objects, Hershey’s Chocolate World, or stores of famous brands of clothing like H&M, Gap and Levi’s Times Square. These stores, very often, are an attraction within an attraction. Our favourite is the beautiful M&M’s shop where you can try and buy the famous coloured chocolates in the shape of a button and take a picture with some shop assistants dressed up like chocolates. Around Times Square, there are some famous museums such as Madame Tussauds (wax museum) and Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a museum that exhibits objects and illustrations by cartoonist Robert Ripley.
Broadway and its theatre
Close to Times Square is the world-famous Broadway, the heart and soul of the American theatre. In this bright and sparkling street, more than 40 theatres stage the most popular musicals every night, from the classics to the most recent productions. We watched the Mary Poppins musical, and we have to say that it was fantastic. Tickets for the various shows can be purchased directly on the Broadway official website, but you can also try your luck to get discounted tickets by queuing up at TKTS Booth, located right in Times Square at 47th street.
How to reach Times Square
Times Square is located in the Midtown neighbourhood, at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue, and stretches between 40th and 53rd streets and from 6th to 9th Avenue. Several subway stations are nearby, but the main one is 42nd St / Times Square, which is served by many lines. Nearby, there is the Grand Central Terminal (train station) and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the alighting point of many buses that run extra-state routes.
Where to sleep in Times Square
Midtown is an excellent base for those visiting NYC for the first time and offers a wide choice of accommodations. Obviously, the costs are quite high. For example, The Westin Hotel at Times Square overlooks the square (average cost is 300 euros per night), or the Edison Hotel Times Square (around 200 euros per night) or the Times Square Edition NY (around 350 euros per night). Despite the massive police presence, even with a small station right in Times Square, always keep your eyes open because the Midtown area is not free from muggings and pickpockets.
Restaurants e Skybar in Times Square
Times Square doesn’t offer many dining options unless you’re interested in big chains like McDonald, Sbarro, Bubba Gump, Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Café. As this is a trendy area, be prepared to stand in a long line. To find restaurants, you will need to move to 46th street, between 8th and 9th avenue. Two of our favourite restaurants are Red Lobster (7th Ave 42rd St), where you can enjoy excellent crab and lobster dishes, and The Counter, which offers typical American dishes and vegetarian cuisine. In the area, not far away, there are also Michelin-starred restaurants such as Le Bernardin (155 W 51st St) or The Modern (9 W 53rd St). For a drink overlooking Times Square, you can visit the Rooftop Bar Lounge at Two Times Square or the St. Cloud Rooftop (our favourite).