Times Square, the iconic cultural mecca, is an instantly recognizable landmark. However, many people—tourists and natives alike—are unaware that Times Square is named after the Times Building (now One Times Square), the former offices of the New York Times in 1904. Prior to then, it was simply known as Longacre Square. After nine years in their Times Square location, the paper relocated to 229 West 43rd Street where it stayed until early 2007. It then moved to nearby 620 Eighth Avenue, a stunning building designed by Renzo Piano.
While founded in 1851, the Times gained prominence and political influence in the mid-1870s when it published a series of articles investigating Boss Tweed, the corrupt head of the Democratic political machine. By the late 19th century the Times had also moved away from supporting Republican candidates and positioned itself as a politically independent media organization. The paper's slogan "All the News That's Fit to Print" emerged in 1897 as a means of distinguishing itself from the sensationalistic "yellow journalism" of other New York media outfits such as the New York World and New York Journal American. The paper was also responsible for starting the New Year's Eve tradition of dropping a ball from its roof that very year. For over a century, millions of revelers have gathered in the Square counting down to the stroke of midnight, starring in awe of a shining, lit-up sphere. Now you know who to thank for the all the crowds.
The now iconic Sunday Times crosswords puzzle first appeared in the paper in 1942. It didn't become a daily feature until 1950. The puzzle increases with difficulty as the week progresses, with the easiest puzzle on Monday and the hardest on Saturday. Sunday's jumbo 21 x 21 square crossword is thought to be the equivalent to Thursday's difficulty level. For those who crave more than a daily fill of symmetrical verbosity, Nintendo DS has released a New York Times-approved video game over 1,000 puzzles from the paper's past. Wordsmiths rejoice!
In 2007, "All the News That's Fit to Print" got a bit smaller. That's the year the paper decided to reduce its page width from 13.5 inches to the industry standard of 12.
Meanwhile, some people see the Times as not only fit to read, but fit to climb. The handsome 52-story building often tempts daredevils to scale its ladder-like exterior. Be warned, a visit to the Times might bring out your inner Spiderman. In fact, on June 28, 2008, there were two separate incidents of people scaling the Times Building only hours apart! French stuntman Alain Robert carried a banner which warned of the dangers of global warming, while Brooklyn native Renaldo Clarke claimed his climb was an effort to raise awareness to the plight of Malaria. While both men made it to the top, they were swiftly arrested upon their rooftop arrival.
In 2008 The Times set up an official Media desk, which covers stories that traverse both the Business and Culture sections of the paper. Coverage of media issues was previously split among the two sections. However, the new desk was deemed necessary, as the convergence of commerce and entertainment issues has increased in recent years. The Times is just doing their best to keep up with the times. Speaking of which—with over 50 blogs currently being updated, the NY Times is loaded with fresh web content. Niche topics that include chess, fantasy football, migraine headaches and the wisdom of Dick Cavett are among some of the more irreverent areas that are explored. Often with written with engaging depth, you're sure to find some great cubicle reading. Check them out here.
The New York Times is located in the Theater District neighborhood of Manhattan. For Broadway fans, dining and staying in and around the theater district is a must. Depending on whom you ask, the theater district spans approximately from Sixth to Eighth Avenues between 41st and 54th Streets. From the hustle of the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the bustle of 42nd Street and Times Square, much of New York's dazzling vibrancy and energy emanates from this area. Below we offer our advice on favorite places: HOTELS: Right at the crossroads of Times Square you'll find the Hilton Times Square, with its stunning views and close proximity to all the boogie of Broadway. A block north and east takes you the charming boutique hotel called the Casablanca, with just 48 rooms and a private rooftop deck beloved for its views of the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration. One block west and across from the New York Times headquarters is the 45-story Westin Times Square, linked to the E-Walk entertainment and retail complex. West 44th Street has a number of great hotels, including the Art Deco Millennium Broadway, the luxurious French-American Sofitel and Ian Schrager-designed boutique hotel Royalton just across the street. A block north and close to Eighth Avenue you'll find the well-known budget hotel, the Milford Plaza known also as the "lullaby of Broadway." Right at Broadway the perennial favorite Marriott Marquis has a soaring atrium and glass elevators. Just north you'll find the chic and trendy W New York Times Square, and further east the even more chic and über-trendy Night Hotel. Back to Broadway a just a block north around 46th Street is the convenient and comfortable Doubletree Guest Suites, which is a great option for families. A bit further west on 46th Street is another stylish Ian Schrager gem, the Paramount; to the east you'll find a stunning inspiration in The Muse. A final recommendation is just slightly outside the Theater District, but so close, so impressive, and overlooking the New York Public Library. Called the Bryant Park Hotel, it indeed has a wonderful view of popular Bryant Park as well. Click HERE for a complete list of hotels in the Theater District. RESTAURANTS With dozens of fine dining, casual, ethnic and fast-food restaurants to choose from, the Theater District is a food mecca. Remember to let your server know if you have theater tickets and need to finish your meal in a set period of time! First off, the block of West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues is well-known as Restaurant Row for its many offerings and wide variety of cuisines. Here you will find everything from traditional steakhouse fare at Broadway Joe to Italian Jewish cuisine at Lattanzi, to a great selection of beers and world cuisine at Joshua Tree. All around the theater district are big theme restaurants, ranging from ESPN Zone to the perennial favorite for barbecue Virgil’s. Enjoy excellent and quick Chinese food at Ollie’s. If great steak is your thing, head to the Palm or Ruths Chris. Other wonderful pre-theater possibilities include DB Bistro Moderne for excellent French bistro fare and the splendid new American cuisine at Thalia. If you crave great ethnic food and want to go a bit further afield, superb Ethiopian cuisine can be had at Queen of Sheba, and right nearby visit Hallo Berlin for a taste of Germany. One of our favorite all-American locales, The Pony Bar offers a few modest dishes to complement its dozens of superb craft beers. Your options certainly aren't limited to Restaurant Row or luxury restaurants. Obviously in Times Square, the crossroads of the world, you’ll find the chain restaurants you see all over America, some with supersize versions such as Chevy’s and Red Lobster. Happy dining!
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