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Clay Aiken Shows Us Times Square

Times Square

Times Square

While Clay was busy starring in Spamalot last year, many of his fans were introduced to life in New York City.  If you visited the Shubert Theater, you also had a look at Times Square.

Times Square is a major intersection in New York City and was named after the Times Building which was the former offices of the New York Times.  It is located at Broadway and Seventh Avenue and extends from W42nd to W47th Streets.

Times Square has become a primary landmark in New York City.  Its animated, digital advertisements help create an incredibly exciting vibe.  It is the only neighborhood that actually requires building owners to display illuminated signs.

When you walk through Times Square, there are so many things to see that one cannot see it all.

One place that stands out in Times Square is the Hershey’s Times Square store.  Outside of the store, the 215-ft tall, 60-ft wide store façade is the largest permanent fixture ever constructed in Times Square.  It features 34 dimensional props, four steam machines, over 4,000 chasing lights, 30 programmable lights, 56 neon letters, and 14 front-lit signs.  Inside, you can purchase almost any gift that has to do with Hershey Candies.

When you were there, did you notice that George M. Cohan still stands in Times Square?  Over a century ago, he opened a show called “Little Johnny Jones”.  It contained the hit songs, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, and “Give My Regards To Broadway.”

Through his talent, he imprinted his personality on the American Entertainment culture.  And so we don’t forget, his statue stands next to the TKTS booth at Duffy Square.

Debt CLock

Debt CLock

Not too long ago, time stood still – literally.  After the country’s debt surpassed $10 trillion, the marquee-sized debt clock in Times Square, ran out of digits.  The clock’s owners say that 2 more zeros will be added, allowing the clock to record a quadrillion dollars of debt.  Until that time, the Time’s Square counter’s electronic dollar sign has been replaced with an extra digit.

Over the past 20 years the digital “alarm” clock has been moved 4 times.  Today, it hangs near the entrance of the city’s IRS office.  The owner of the clock said, “We thought it was a fitting location.”

Naked Cowboy

Naked Cowboy

Robert Burck is someone you probably saw when you walked through Times Square.  He is known today as “The Naked Cowboy.”  He wears only cowboy boots, a hat and underwear, with a guitar strategically placed to give the illusion of nudity.  Though he is currently most famous in Times Square, he is also a regular in the streets of the French quarter during the New Orleans Mardi Gras season.  On January 25, 2009, he performed at a Leinster Rugby game in Ireland and sang his theme song “I’m the Naked Cowboy: before 18,000 spectators.

As with any busy place, there are changes all the time and that is the same with Times Square.  Two big changes are slated for 2009.  First, the Times Square Virgin Megastore will close down in April.  The space was home to many entertainment events.  Clay Aiken had his last album release event there.

The second change in Times Square is huge and somewhat controversial.  The city plans to close several blocks of Broadway to vehicle traffic through Times Square.  This would turn the Great White Way into a pedestrian mall, with chairs, benches and café tables with umbrellas.

Perhaps the event that is most tied to Times Square is New Years Eve.  Well over one million people crowd into the square to view the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop.

For Clay Aiken fans, New Year’s Eve, 2004 was especially wonderful.  As a performer at the MTV celebration, Clay’s live performance was on many of the elaborate signs in the square.

Times Square today is home to 46 theatres, 50 hotels, and over 5000 businesses.  It draws in 37 million tourists annually, and over $16 billion in revenue.  It is definitely a landmark in the city of New York.

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