Must-See Times Square
by nycgo.com staff, 12/25/2012
TKTS Steps. Photo: Marley White
Times Square Stats
Everything is supersized in Times Square, from the skyscrapers to the pastrami sandwiches to the Ferris wheel inside Toys "R" Us. It's no wonder the "Crossroads of the World" draws as many as 500,000 people each day to work, shop, dine or just soak up the electric atmosphere. If you're among the latter, here are a few facts and figures to ponder while you take in the dazzling views.
• Times Square offers 100,000 square feet of billboard space, roughly a quarter of its total signage, to advertisers.
• The annual New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square began in 1904 with a street festival and fireworks display that attracted 200,000 people.
• The first New Year's Eve Ball dropped in 1907, illuminated with a hundred 25-watt bulbs that descended from a flagpole atop 1 Times Square. The ball was designed by an electrician employed by The New York Times.
• The ball used today is a Waterford crystal–encrusted geodesic sphere that is 12 feet in diameter and weighs 11,875 pounds.
• More than 1 billion people worldwide watch the televised New Year's Eve Ball drop each year.
• Times Square's retail stores generate $1.7 billion in sales annually, and its 40 hotels generate $1.8 billion in annual revenue.
• Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous Life magazine cover photo of a sailor kissing a nurse on V-J Day in 1945 is Time Life's most requested image for reproduction. Because Eisenstaedt failed to ask the identity of the subjects, their identities remain a mystery today, even though a number of people have claimed over the years to be the ones shown. Every five years on the anniversary of the day that marked the end of World War II—August 14, 1945—the Times Square Alliance holds a Times Square Kiss-In, where hundreds of couples gather to recreate the famous kiss in honor of US troops and the "universal ideals of peace, love and hope." —nycgo.com staff