1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R, S, W at Times Sq.-42nd St.; A, C, E at 42nd St.-Port Authority Bus Terminal
Times Square extends from 41st St. to 53rd St., and Sixth Ave. to Eighth Ave.
Over a century ago, Thomas Edison juiced what is now the oldest surviving Broadway theater, the Lyceum; ever since, the Great White Way has been known both for its playhouses (around 20 are landmarked) and as the place where night becomes day. In the words of one of its many chroniclers, it has also been a "crossroads of class and race," a microcosm that has been everything to everyone, from the employees of top media, legal, advertising, and financial companies to the billions around the world who tune in once a year to watch the ball drop from the former headquarters of the New York Times. Veteran New Yorkers remember the Deuce, 42nd Street's old nickname, for the unrivaled amount of peep shows that lined it in the 1980s, when post-Depression decay was at its low-point and the "sinkhole" had become the most dangerous area in the city. Meanwhile, as a result of what some say was an overly heavy-handed private-public redevelopment effort in the early nineties, the 30 million visitors per year who spill out of new high-rise hotels now know it as a playpen containing flagship chain stores such as the gargantuan Toys 'R' Us and the Virgin Megastore (the world's largest record shop) and over-the-top theme restaurants that contain video arcades, like ESPN Zone. No matter how annoyed some profess to be over gaudy new skyscrapers that have replaced condemned buildings and the impenetrable crowds gathered under the towering, three-dimensional spectaculars, a walk down Broadway still yields welcome surprises, whether it's the grandiose former movie palace and theater now being used as the Times Square Church, the boxing dive Jimmy's Corner, or the Naked Cowboy strumming away in the center of it all.Times Square Information Center
The Times Square Information Center isn't just for tourists: Local pedestrians will appreciate the public restrooms. Visitors can check their email, grab a map, get discounted theater tickets or tickets for free TV tapings, schedule a sightseeing tour, and even get their mugs on a 3,000-sq. ft. sign. 1560 Seventh Ave. nr. 46th St. Mon.—Fri., 9 a.m.—7 p.m.; Sat.—Sun., 8 a.m.—8 p.m.
The Gothic façade of One Times Square—in its early days the home of the New York Times and the second-tallest building in the city—was given a modernist makeover in the 1960s but is now covered in ads such as the steaming Cup of Noodles. It's here, at the intersection of Seventh Ave., Broadway, and 42nd St., where Waterford Crystal's 1,070-pound ball drops 77 feet during the last minute of the year.
The Times Square Alliance's (212-768-1560) free tour leaves every Friday at noon from the Times Square Information Center.