Neighborhood Highlights

Must-See Times Square

by staff, 12/25/2012

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  • Stuck in a Moment
    Imagine, if you will, what it's like to work at the Times Square Museum & Visitor Center manning a booth just a few feet from the New Year's Eve Centennial Ball, which dropped from 1 Times Square in 2007 and has since been retired in favor of the current ball. Every 20 minutes (at :05, :25 and :45) the lights go out, a recording counts down from 10, voices shout "Happy New Year" and the ball unleashes a colorful light display. It's called the "Times Square Spectacular" show.

    If you were to work there eight hours a day, five days a week, that would mean witnessing 120 New Year's Eves each week, or 6,240 per year. It's understandable that you might not feel much like donning a party hat and breaking out the bubbly when December 31 finally rolls around. For those just dropping by the visitor center, though, the show represents no such existential burden. It's a chance to see the ball up close, snap photos and experience a taste of the famous New Year's Eve celebration any time of the year. During our trip to the center, a steady stream of tourists enthusiastically posed for pictures in front of the ball as such City-celebrating staples as "New York, New York" and "New York State of Mind" played over the sound system.

    Other features at the museum include Broadway artifacts, a Sex, Desire and Danger exhibition featuring a neon sign from Peep-O-Rama (42nd Street's last peep show, which closed in 2002) and a "Hopes and Dreams" wishing wall where visitors can scribble aspirations for the New Year onto pieces of confetti to be dropped during the real Times Square celebration. Recent requests included someone who wanted to be "debt-free by June 2013" and another who said: "I wish Jamie says yes when I ask her to marry me." —JZ

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