I am a native New Yorker. I have always loved my hometown and taken great pride in being from here. I have seen this place at its best and at its worst and everywhere in between during my life. No matter what, whenever I see the city’s skyline from further away and when I am in the city itself, my own [I] Heart [NY] beat a little bit faster.
It was with great interest that I read a terrific article posted on July 31, 2014 on Gizmodo.com entitled How Times Square Works by Adam Clarke Estes. He reports in great detail how all of the massive LCD signage works. As any visitor to Times Square has seen, you are surrounded by a very sophisticated and extensive array of brilliantly colored and often animated displays for a multitude of products, places and entertainments. The author has done a masterful job of explaining how the underlying technologies operate and integrate, some of the tech and advertisers involved, the principals of their design and placement, and the massive coordination needed to keep everything in sync on a 24/7 basis. He also provides some very colorful history, facts and photos about the area and its modern symphony LCD displays. This piece is quite, well, enlightening for any tourists as well as NYC residents.
In any telling of the history of Times Square, what always emerges is the total transformation of the area since the early 1990’s. For many years prior to that, the area’s reputation was more for its crime, dirty streets and overall seediness. I had a first-hand view of this when, for several summers, I had a job in a music store (remember those?) right in the heart of this place. I had a great deal of fun working in the store but was always somewhat afraid venturing out on the streets whenever I arrived, had lunch or left.
Fortunately, through better planning and policies as well as the NYC’s rapid economic growth, this urban blight was excised and replaced with something much better in every possible way. It now lives up its global reputation as truly being the Crossroad of the World.