New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and few places within the city get more visitors than Times Square. While it’s become known as a tourist trap to a degree over the years, there are still plenty of amazing things to do in Times Square that make it well worth the visit.
If you want to get the most out of your upcoming trip to the Big Apple’s popular visitor attraction, then it helps to have a deeper understanding of the rich history of Times Square and what continues to make it so unique. That’s why we’re sharing these five fun facts about this destination.
Fun things you likely don’t know about Times Square.
It hasn’t always been named Times Square.
Before this part of the city took up the ubiquitous name we all know today, it was actually called Longacre Square. At that time, it was one of the most popular centers for the carriage industry in the city, but then in 1904, the New York Times decided to relocate their headquarters to the area.
That’s when the name changed to Times Square, and it’s remained that ever since despite the well-known newspaper only keeping their office there until 1913. Over the years, Times Square has also been nicknamed “The Crossroads of the World,” “The Great White Way,” and “The Center of the Universe.”
Times Square hasn’t always been the family-friendly tourist destination it is today.
In fact, there was a time when most people wouldn’t even think about spending any time in this part of the city. Just check out great works of cinematic art like Taxi Driver, Midnight Cowboy, or The Deuce on HBO, and you’ll see depictions of a much grittier version where strip clubs and peep shows were some of the only things to do in Times Square.
However, around the turn of the century, the city made a concerted effort to revitalize the area and turn it back into the tourist draw it had once been. Now, it’s filled with well-to-do establishments, fun shows, and delicious dining that draws families worldwide.
It can’t actually contain millions of people at once.
No one is denying that the crowds at some of the most famous events at Times Square are incredibly impressive. Simply tune in during the New Year’s Eve ball drop each year or look at the iconic photo of a sailor kissing a woman after WWII ended, and it’s obvious the area’s draw is strong.
However, according to some researchers, the claim that there are a million-plus people in Times Square at a single moment isn’t feasible. According to their calculations, the true number is closer to between 51,000 and 120,000, depending on how densely everyone is packed in. That’s definitely still an impressive feat!
You’ll never hear silence in Times Square.
With so much traffic and things to do in Times Square, this might not seem like an interesting fact. However, even if you removed all of the people and vehicles, you still wouldn’t experience a silent Times Square.
That’s because in 2002, The Times Square Street Business Improvement District reinstated an art exhibit that was originally around back in the ‘70s. Artist Max Neuhaus created a rich harmonic sound texture piece of art called Times Square that’s installed under a street grate between Broadway and Seventh Avenue that makes noise 24/7.
You’ll find NYC’s only revolving restaurant here.
In a city known for its impressive skylines, there’s nowhere better to experience all its grandeur than in Times Square. That’s because it’s home to a well-known restaurant called “The View.”
The View is the only restaurant in the city where you can enjoy panoramic, 360-degree views of the skyline while dining in the revolving construction. That, combined with its delicious dining options, makes it one of the most popular things to do in Times Square.
Want to know more about Times Square?
Then schedule a professionally guided tour for your upcoming trip with Isle of New York Tours. I’ve been giving insightful, one-of-a-kind tours of the city I love for more than 25 years now, and I can give you the history and interesting facts to help you genuinely appreciate everything The Big Apple has to offer. Learn more about the tours I offer, or book one for your trip using our convenient online booking tool.