Walks in New York and elsewhere

My comments on buildings, shops, restaurants that catch my eye as I wander around New York City and other places.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Times Square

Times Square is the triangle formed by the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Broadway is an exception to the NYC grid and runs at a diagonal. As it crosses major avenues, it forms triangular traffic islands that New Yorkers call "squares."

This one received its name when the New York Times moved its offices from Park Row, near City Hall, to Longacre Square, taking up residence in the 25-story, Italian Renaissance Revival terra cotta-clad building you see here today, or would see, if it had not been stripped of all ornament and re-clad in white marble when Allied Chemical moved in. Now, even that is mostly gone, replaced by huge billboards. The building dates from 1904, designed by Cyrus I. W. Eidlitz and Andrew C. MacKenzie. Many hands have contributed to its subsequent obliteration. The Times occupied the building for only a decade, but the name stuck. This is the building from the top of which the ball drops at the stroke of midnight, New Year's Eve.

The electric news "zipper" remains.

The newspaper's current office building, a designated NYC landmark, is at 229 West 43rd Street, until 2006, when the new building is scheduled for completion.

While the dominant features of Times Square remain the bright lights, electric signs and supersized, over-the-top advertisements, a number of new buildings have been constructed, in connection with the "New 42nd Street." No matter how staid or refined the occupant, the buildings get into the 42nd spirit with loud, and in this neighborhood, appropriate signage.

It would have been inconceivable, say, 15 years ago, that Conde Nast would have its headquarters in these tawdry precincts. (4 Times Square, Fox and Fowle, 1999)
I like to think that the rounded corner is a nod to Raymond Hood's McGraw-Hill building a couple of blocks to the west.

Below is the Reuters Building, 3 Times Square,
also by Fox Fowle, 2001, getting into the act.

The subway station would look out of place anywhere except maybe Coney Island.

The subway entrance is protected not by the ordinary concrete barriers one might find elsewhere, but by the brass balls, er, globes.

Is there another accounting firm that announces its presence

the way Ernst and Young does here?

On the southeast corner is a remnant of the turn of the century, the former Knickerbocker Hotel, dating from 1901-1906, a red brick and terra-cotta Beaux-Arts confection designed by
Marvin & Davis, much altered, but a cultural, as as well as an architectural, designated NYC landmark. The building remained a hotel only 15 years, but during that time was home to Enrico Caruso and George M. Cohan.

The mural in its fashionable bar was saved when the hotel was converted to other uses and now graces the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis hotel.


Blogger Jennifer said...

I totally dig your website! I am doing a similar thing in Paris, but I suppose I need to start toting a camera! I am also a little bit more scattered, but keep up the work and feel free to pop by and visit Paris for a little while!


9:44 AM  

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