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NileGuide Expert Says:
Natives may avoid Times Square whenever possible, but its neon lights and cast of weird characters (including the Naked Cowboy) make it a must-see for the first-time visitor.
Manhattan, NY, United States
+1 212 768 1560 (Times Square Alliance)
NileGuide Expert tip:
A free tour of the area run by the Times Square Alliance leaves every Friday at noon from the Times Square Information Center. Perhaps even more helpfully, the center also has public restrooms and a wealth of tourist resources.
Located at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Street, its glittering lights and neon signs make Times Square one of the most iconic sights of New York City. Formerly the property of fur trading and real estate tycoon John Jacob Astor, the square got its name in the early 1900s when the New York Times moved into a new skyscraper on 42nd Street. After new subways brought thousands of commuters to 42nd Street, the city's theaters moved up from the Bowery and lower Broadway, and the area is now the center of New York's bustling theater district.
In the decades after the Great Depression, Times Square became known as a dangerous neighborhood and a symbol of the city's decline and corruption from the 1960s to the 1990s. After a long-term development plan and a comprehensive crackdown on crime by the city government, the infamous center of pickpockets and porno theaters has been thoroughly reinvented and filled with more upscale and tourist-friendly attractions, hotels, vendors, and street performers.