Most people head to the center of Manhattan for one thing only: to be surrounded by the glittering, super-sized lights at the Crossroads of the World. To stand in the heart of Times Square is the quintessential New York City experience. It’s true, many New Yorkers pan Times Square for its throngs of tourists, who disrupt their frenetic walking pace. Recent developments in the area have transformed Times Square into a cultural hub that even New Yorkers are appreciating.
There are many things to see and do in Times Square besides gaping at its towering digital billboards. Head to the top of the red stairs at the TKTS booth on Broadway and 47th (where you can buy reduced-rate Broadway tickets), to take in the 360-views and get some fantastic nighttime shots. Then, consider a direction. Head north up Broadway to the Ed Sullivan theater, where you can get tickets to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Or go east across 44th street to Dance Times Square, and take a personal lesson with two of the world’s greatest Latin dancers, Tony Meredith and Melanie LePatin. After you work up an appetite, Virgil’s Real Barbecue next door has been serving Texas brisket and crispy hush puppies for more than twenty years. Go south, and you’ll stroll past the studios of ABC’s Good Morning America where you may catch a morning celebrity sighting. Last but certainly not least, head west across 44th and 45th to view Broadway’s most iconic theaters.
Of course, if you just want to sit and take it all in, most of the streets in central Times Square have recently become pedestrian areas with tables and chairs. Enjoy the people watching; maybe you’ll get serenaded by the Naked Cowboy. Engage with the costumed characters at your own risk. They’re cute, but they’re also unlicensed hustlers. This is New York, after all.
When the crowds get too much, escape the hubbub at The Knickerbocker, which forms the southeast corner of Times Square.