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Thread: Times Square: A Century of Change

  1. #46


    I doubt Times Square would be a failure -- madison avenue, not a good idea.

  2. #47
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Bloomberg and his Transportation Commisioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, are big advocates of turning some of Manhattan's roadways into Pedestrian friendly zones.

    Seeing what is going on at Fifth / Broadway / Madison Square in the Meatpacking District along Ninth Avenue and now near Times Square down into Herald Square it seems things are moving in a good direction. I'll be happier when larger amounts of radways are car free. Times Square with the widened pedestrian areas is much easier to navigate -- although tourists seem wary of entering into the pedestrian-protected asphalt zones.

    One not-so-good plan is the Bus Only lane on Broadway south of Houston, which has been implemented haphazardly and is only partially enforced. It seems that when fully implemented and Broadway south of Chambers is no longer a construction zone then this plan might work better.

  3. #48


    Quote Originally Posted by brianac View Post
    How to Stand Out in Times Square? Build a Bigger and Brighter Billboard

    Published: May 24, 2008

    so is this thing up and running now?

    Moderator edit: Stop quoting entire posts, especially when they are long and have pictures.
    Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; July 14th, 2008 at 07:51 PM.

  4. #49


    It is still being put together, though it appears close to being finished. Walgreens should be opening shortly.

    What I would really want to see done now is an overhaul of the former Liz Claiborne display atop Toy's R Us and Foot Locker. I can't stand to walk around Times Square and see the old Jerry Springer and Rush Limbaugh billboards on the site from many years ago rusting, while the rest of Times Square shines.

  5. #50


    15 August 2008

    Broadway on Broadway

    Walking through Times Square this week, it struck me how unfortunate it was that an area made famous by and primarily known for theatre now boasts precious few billboards advertising Broadway shows. Plenty of television and film ads. Also Coke, Planter's Peanuts, Fuji Film and various other producers. I guess space rentals must be so costly that theatre producers are priced out of the market.

    The only stronghold of Broadway advertising I saw was the building at the northeast corner of 47th and Seventh Avenue. Jersey Boys, Grease!, Hairspray, Wicked. Whoever owns this structure seems to have made it a priority that stage shows have their say.

    Posted by Brooks of Sheffield at 15.8.08

    Lost City 2008

  6. #51


    Porn king Richard Basciano survived Rudy Giuliani, but his plans are at risk

    Saturday, August 16th 2008, 8:55 PM

    Richard Basciano outside Show World and the Laugh Factory.

    Basciano's deal with Laugh Factory founder Jamie Masada has gone sour.

    New York's undisputed prince of porn made a fortune in the sleaze of old Times Square, and now he hopes to make millions more from its Disneyfication.
    Octogenarian sex peddler Richard Basciano says "some of the biggest developers in the country" are haggling with him over his infamous Show World building at 42nd St. and Eighth Ave.

    He's also talking with a top Broadway organization about building a legitimate 3,500-seat theater in the spot where men once paid to watch undulating strippers behind glass screens.

    But, in his first interview in more than 30 years, Basciano says he fears his partner, comedy king Jamie Masada, may ruin his chances for a deal.
    In a Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit, Masada charges Basciano created "an atmosphere of intimidation" and secretly pocketed millions since 2003, after they became 5-0/50 partners in a branch of Masada's famed Laugh Factory in the Show World building.

    Masada's allegations, first reported in the Daily News, include a pulled gun, threats and coerced contract signings.

    Saying he is "hurt" by Masada's "distortions," Basciano - who at 83 still spars regularly with a trainer - has come out fighting.

    "It's not my style to intimidate anyone," the soft-spoken, silver-haired ex-boxer said. "I'm really taken aback by his lies."

    As Basciano tells it, sitting in his memorabilia-stuffed office on the fifth floor of the building: "We had not a good relationship but a great relationship."

    He points to a framed Ellis Island Medal of Honor with a photo of Masada, Basciano and Basciano's wife. The comedy whiz received the award in 2006 and gave it to Basciano, saying, "You deserve this more than me," Basciano recalled.

    Both invested $500,000 in the comedy venture, and Basciano says he spent "in excess of $3 million" to transform the labyrinth of peep booths and strip stages into five auditoriums with a dinner theater, kitchen and handicapped bathrooms.

    The aging pornographer says Masada knew all about Basciano's past.

    The Baltimore native started selling dirty magazines in New York in the early 1960s. By the mid-'80s, his empire was worth a reported $10 million a year, despite the 1981 arrest of his partners Theodore Rothstein and Robert DiBernardo on federal obscenity charges. In 1986, DiBernardo was killed, purportedly on orders of mob boss John Gotti.

    Basciano says he was "surprised" to learn of their mob ties.

    His only criminal blot is a 1968 no-contest plea to federal mail fraud charges from a store-coupon scam while working for a Baltimore newspaper. He was fined $750 and put on probation.

    In the late '90s, Basciano made about $14 million - "less than market value" - from the state condemnation of his buildings. He still nurtures a grudge against smut-busting former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

    "I am his nemesis," he says. The wily Basciano skirted the city's anti-porn law and saved Show World by cutting its sex stock by 60%.

    What remains - rack upon rack of X-rated DVDs, magazines, sex toys and neon signs touting peep booths at 25 cents a thrill - is the last vestige of the old tenderloin.

    Basciano briefly ran a night club in the building, but closed it in 2003 because "it attracted people with drugs." That's when he turned to Masada, who he said assured him they could top the tens of millions made at Caroline's Comedy Club in Times Square.

    Although Masada claims his partner hid millions in profits, Basciano insists the club was not making money.

    "I blame Mr. Masada's inability to manage," he said, ticking off a list: He said Masada turned down a theater tenant who offered $20,000 a month, charged too little for food and drinks (Basciano said he fixed that by upping prices 40%), killed a potentially lucrative deal with Comcast and failed to pay $1.5 million in rent.

    Of the allegedly coerced 2007 deal that Masada charges cut his profit share by 25%, Basciano said: "Why would I force Mr. Masada to sign an agreement in which I am giving him $100,000 a year, and whatever profits are made, 50% will go to him and me and 50% to the back rent?"

    Basciano said Masada wants to get rid of him so he can open another Laugh Factory in New York with other investors.

    Masada did not return calls and his attorney, Gregg Mashberg, declined to comment.

    These days, "Times Square Arts Center, All-Star Comedy" appears on the marquee where "Laugh Factory" once flashed.

    "I could put girls in there and be within the law," Basciano said. "But I enjoy at this stage of my be part-owner of a comedy club."

    The building, in trust for his children and grandchildren, is his legacy, he said. He hopes to develop the site through a 99-year ground lease or to enter into a joint venture.

    Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins called Basciano "honest, straightforward," and said "there may be some nostalgia" if Show World disappears.

    The 16,700-square foot building could be worth as much as $600 a square foot - "on par with the most expensive" real estate in the city, said Peter Van Der Ahe, of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.

    "I'm 83 years old and, God bless me, I keep getting up off the floor before the count of 10," Basciano said. "I'm getting up a little slower, but I'm getting up."

    © Copyright 2008

  7. #52


    Falling Glass in Times Square

    Last Edited: Sunday, 17 Aug 2008, 6:14 PM EDT Created: Sunday, 17 Aug 2008, 3:01 PM EDT

    Glass fell from a Times Square office building on Sunday, August 17, 2008.

    Get News on Your Desktop -- A piece of glass fell five stories from a building in Times Square on Sunday. No injuries were reported but police closed part of Broadway between 42nd and 43rd streets.

    Police said the glass reportedly dropped from the fifth floor of One Times Square.

    Further details were not immediately available.

    TM and (c) 2008 Fox Television Stations, Inc.,

  8. #53


    September 4, 2008, 11:48 am

    How Many Eagle Eyes Are In This Picture?

    By David W. Dunlap

    A billboard for a new Hollywood movie was juxtaposed with a mobile police observation tower. (Photo: David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)

    A kind of cross-platform marketing seemed to be under way on Wednesday in Times Square, where a billboard for the new movie “Eagle Eye” almost perfectly framed one of the Police Department’s mobile Sky Watch observation towers.

    The first Sky Watch was deployed two years ago, on Aug. 27, 2006, at the United States Open.

    “There’s one there now, too,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman.

    He added:
    The one at Times Square is just for the precinct’s policing of that high density location. All Sky Watches are in place for relatively short periods of time and then moved. For example, the one at Times Square will be moved tomorrow to Columbus Circle because an event there marking the kickoff of the NFL season.
    The department now has eight Sky Watches, Mr. Browne said, one for each of its patrol borough districts.

    They can be found along parade routes, near the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach and in neighborhoods where crime has spiked.

    As for the rest of the billboard, let it be noted that the New York Police Department’s official watchwords are “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect” — not “If You Want to Live You Will Obey.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  9. #54
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    I hate those things.

    They block pedestrian and bike traffic, and it takes them forever to set up and pack them up when they are done. They will just sit there, unused sometimes for days.

    Big Bro is even a little jealous of them.

  10. #55


    Updated On 09/29/08 at 11:40AM
    1920s actresses get makeovers at Times Square landmark

    1552 Broadway restoration rendering

    By Jovana Rizzo

    Four statues of 1920s Broadway actresses will be restored at the I. Miller building, at 1552 Broadway in Times Square.

    Statues of 1920s New York actresses -- Academy Award-winning Canadian movie star Mary Pickford as Little Lord Fauntleroy; vaudeville headliner Rosa Ponselle in "Norma"; stage actress Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia; and Broadway musical star Marilyn Miller in the title role in the musical "Sunny" -- stand in niches near the top of the building, at 46th Street. Above them is the phrase: “The show folks shoe shop dedicated to beauty in footwear.'' The building was a Broadway shoe store in the early 1900s, opened by Polish shoe manufacturer Israel Miller.

    The architectural and interior design firm Tobin + Parnes Design Enterprises is restoring the statues, along with the 13,120-square-foot, four-story building’s curved window storefront and limestone façade, constructed during a renovation in 1926.

    Andrea Dibner, a principal at Tobin + Parnes, said the firm is working with the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission to evaluate all of these details and determine whether the statues and other building details need to be cleaned and repaired or completely replaced.

    “There are marble surrounds on the first and second story windows, and we have not been able to find the same stone anywhere,” Dibner said. “We have to decide with the Commission if we want to use artistic painting methods to match the marble, or just leave what’s left of the original marble there.”

    Dibner said her firm is hoping to start the estimated $1 million restoration in spring 2009 and finish by the winter. An obstacle facing the architects is the construction moratorium in Times Square between November and January. The property falls within a three-block radius of the no-construction zone the city imposes on the area during the holiday season.

    The building’s landlord, the Riese Organization, is operating a T.G.I. Friday franchise at 1552 Broadway, which may be partially closed during the restoration.

    Dibner said Tobin + Parnes is no stranger to working with strict landmark guidelines and the construction time crunch in Times Square, hired the firm because it specializes in restoring landmark buildings. Previously, Tobin + Parnes completely reconstructed a theater marquee at 1501 Broadway, at 44th Street, which was once the Paramount Theater and currently houses the Hard Rock Cafe.

  11. #56
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    That swell little building ^ has its very own thread:

    1552 Broadway -- The I. Miller Shoe Building in Times Square


  12. #57


    Durst To Add Extra Trillion Dollar Digit to National Debt Clock

    by Dana Rubinstein
    October 6, 2008

    The national debt has grown so exponentially that the Durst Organization, which maintains the National Debt Clock in Times Square, will revamp its ticker to accommodate 14 digits, or more than $10 trillion, according to CNN.

    "$10 trillion is a number that would just be beyond my father's imagination back in 1980," said Douglas Durst, CEO of the Durst Organization and "keeper of the clock," whose father Seymour in 1989 created the digital debt-tracker, basing its numbers on U.S. Treasury data.

    In 2000, when politicians began driving down the national debt, Mr. Durst temporarily turned off the clock, saying that the rapidly dropping numbers were causing confusion amongst passers-by. But Mr. Durst was prescient, telling CNN at the time that he doubted the clock would be turned off for long.

    "We'll have it ready in case things start turning around --which I'm sure they will," Mr. Durst told CNN at the time. "The politicians will do what they have always done and start spending more than we can afford."
    Which brings us to today, October 2008.

    "We're in a crunch to change the debt clock as fast as we can," said Helena Durst, Seymour's granddaughter, who added that the family will also make the debt clock "flashier."


    As it is now, the clock is a rather dour-looking contraption, mounted on the facade of 1133 Sixth Avenue, with two rows of red digits juxtaposed on a background of greenbacks, the rows labeled, "Our National Debt" and "Your Family Share."

    "It really started in the '80s with the Reagan administration and as the first George Bush called it 'voodoo economics,' [which] allowed us to borrow against the future wealth of the country," Mr. Durst told CNN. "It absolutely is a sign of where this country has been going for the last five or six years, living off of ever increasing debt."

    According to the New York Post, until the sign can be revamped, "the digital dollar sign now on the clock will be switched to a number one--the '1' in $10 trillion."

    © 2008 Observer Media Group,

  13. #58



    October 13, 2008

    AC/DC and Wal-Mart Take Over Times Square

    Legendary rockers AC/DC have joined forces with...Wal-Mart? The big box store will set up shop in Times Square this week, but don't worry, it's just a temporary pop-up. Reuters reports that they'll also "have a truck roving around the city to celebrate the launch of AC/DC’s new album. On Saturday night, at the Times Square MTV store, Wal-Mart and MTV will unveil the 'AC/DC Rock Band store' and sell the first copies of the new album." And yet, they won't offer their music online.

  14. #59
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    February 9, 2009, 2:59 pm

    A Love-Themed Spectacle for Times Sq.

    By Jennifer 8. Lee

    Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
    A pulsing metallic heart may be Times Square’s answer to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The heart arrived in Times Square on Sunday.

    See a Slide Show

    Times Square has found its Valentine’s Day’s counterpart to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree: a 10-foot-tall pulsing metallic heart that could serve as a photogenic backdrop for couples who want to record their own kiss at the crossroads of the world.

    The heart, installed over the weekend and scheduled to be up for about two weeks, is just south of the spiffy new TKTS booth in Duffy Square, reflecting the garish glow of Times Square and generating its own light from LED cubes.

    While it’s not quite the Gates of Central Park or the waterfalls in the East River, the heart may resonate widely with New Yorkers and tourists.
    Done by a wholly New York team — unlike the other two public art projects — it unites artistic, industrial and commercial elements of the city: young Lower East Side architects, Queens auto body shop welders, Brooklyn manufacturers, and one of the most highly trafficked, advertisement-laden arenas in the world.

    The design started out as a Christmas tree. As part of an ambitious expansion of its public art mission, the Times Square Alliance had reached out to three architecture and artist teams for innovative proposals for last holiday season. The original conception, submitted by Gage/Clemenceau Architects, was cone-shaped, and it would flash between the blue and silver of Hannukah to the red and green of Christmas to the black, green and red of Kwanzaa.

    After the project failed to start on time, one of the designers, Mark Foster Gage, sent an image to the alliance in which two of the Christmas trees forms had been turned upside down, melded together and colored pink and red. How about a Valentine’s Day project? he joked.

    The Alliance employees passed the design around in the office; they were hooked. The first meeting for the February project was Dec. 8, setting off a scramble to get things ready.

    The costs of materials and labor for the heart would have totaled around $100,000. But with in-kind donations and discounts, the total cash outlay was $20,000 to $30,000. Du Pont donated pink translucent Corian (yes, as in the countertop material).

    Evans & Paul of Long Island, molded the Corian into panels with heart-shaped indentions. Serino Hot Rod of Long Island City, Queens, which soups up cars for $15,000 to $30,000, donated its labor. Milgo/Bufkin, a family-owned manufacturing shop in Williamsburg, donated and cut the delicate metal panels.

    The alliance, which hired a public art coordinator just six months ago, hopes to make Times Square one of the most prominent locales for public art in the United States, said Tim Tompkins, its president. Among the spots that it is offering are Duffy Square, the Military Island, vacant store fronts, building lobbies and construction scaffolds.

    As far as a theme, starting points include sex and desire (a reference to the square’s seedier past), commerce and culture, urban density and diversity, globalism, communication, and theatricality (a nod to Broadway).
    Amid its many opportunities, Times Square also presented some obstacles. Electricity, for example. For all the bright lights and flashing neon, there was only a single outlet out of the TKTS booth to power the whole heart.

    “We’re doing LED because in the middle of Times Square, they only have two plugs,” Mr. Gage said wryly. Energy-efficient LEDs will not only power the heart, but will also be placed along the ground to cast light onto those posing near it. The effect was inspired by watching the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards, where the underglow removes shadows from celebrity faces.

    “It makes you look thinner, too,” said Marc Clemenceau Bailey, Mr. Gage’s partner in the six-person architecture shop.

    So, will the heart definitely be removed after just a few weeks?
    That’s the plan, Mr. Gage said. But he added: “Who knows? The Eiffel Tower was supposed to be temporary.” The search is on for a home for the heart post-Times Square. Meanwhile, Mr. Tompkins said, the formal unveiling is scheduled for Feb. 13.

    City Room pointed out that that was a Friday. Maybe unveiling a heart on Friday the 13th wasn’t the greatest idea?
    Mr. Tompkins paused to reconsider: “Maybe we would do it on the 12th.”

    Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
    Before it made the trip to Times Square, a steel and acrylic heart was put together at Serino Hot Rod in Long Island City, Queens.

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  15. #60

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