Day 3 - New York (cont)  
    Doorman at 993 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, New York    
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji NPZ 800 (Cropped)

I was on my way back to my hotel to rest before heading out again in the evening to visit Times Square. On my way back to the subway station I took a couple of shots that I like, for whatever reason. They are simple things that most people probably wouldn't notice or think worthy of a photo, but they mean something to me, if only for the memories they bring.


Hotel Cafe - Upper East Side

Minolta X-570 with 35mm f/1.8 MD W.Rokkor-X Film: Fuji NPZ 800

Brass on Stone.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Fuji NPZ 800
96th Street Subway Station, New York.
Minolta X-570 with 200mm f/2.8 MD Tele Rokkor. Film: Fuji NPZ 800

After getting back to the hotel and resting my feet I went for a short walk down Lexington to about 28th Street, where there were several Indian restaurants. I had a great dinner and then caught a cab uptown to near Times Square. Now was the time I would see what the fuss was all about.

Times Square, as you are probably aware, is one of the largest aggregations of advertising billboards anywhere in the world. Day and night, all of these are illuminated, making the streets very bright and colourful. Unfortunately, the fact that the signs are so bright does make Times Square extremely difficult to photograph well at night, particularly as many of the signs are actually gigantic television screens, with constantly changing images. It makes for difficult long exposures.

Accordingly, with that disclaimer, here are some shots of Times Square. I hope they give you a small inkling of what the place is like. The Square really has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

There is a strong police presence at Times Square, so it is very safe to visit at night.
Minolta X-570 with 24mm f/2.8 MC VFC Rokkor. Film: Fuji NPZ 800
Since 9/11 New York Firefighters have become the most respected people in the city. Some of the boys from Ladder 20.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Fuji NPZ 800
Even in the middle of the night the crowds never stop moving at Times Square.
Minolta X-570 with 24mm f/2.8 MC VFC Rokkor. Film: Fuji NPZ 800

In the late 19th Century, Longacre Square (as it was then known) was a seedy neighbourhood with dozens of brothels, inhabited by pickpockets, pimps and streetwalkers. Despite efforts to clean up the neighbourhood, it wasn't until 1895 when Oscar Hammerstein built the Olympiad Theatre Complex on an entire block at 42nd Street that things began to change. Within two years he had built another two theatres, and soon many other producers had done the same.

By the time the New York Times moved to the Square in 1904, it was already famous for its lights, as theatres competed with each other to put up the most largest or brightest signs. The Times lobbied to have the name of the Square changed, and to commemorate their success they held a celebration to show in the new year. The Times Square new year celebrations are now known world wide, and every year hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers stand in the cold waiting for the ball to drop, announcing the new year.

Times Square was a successful theatre district for many years, but went into decline after the Second World War. By the 1960's it had started to become a home to a different style of live entertainment, with many live nude shows, as well as erotic bookstores and X-rated movie theatres lining the streets. With the new entertainment came a skyrocketing crime rate, and eventually Times Square became the most dangerous part of New York, driving tourists away.

In the 1980's business joined with government to address the problem and through a combination of legislation and new development the square was transformed. By 1993 it had only 36 adult establishments, down from 140 in the late 1970's. Now it is the only place in New York (and possibly the world) where tenants are required by law to display bright signs outside their premises. With the change in character and the increase in policing came a reduced crime rate, and now Times Square is safe to visit day and night.

Times Square is lined with vendors of everything from watches to portraits.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Fuji NPZ 800
Good music will draw a crowd. Not sure what that says for this guy's talent!
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Fuji NPZ 800

After a couple of hours of walking around Times Square my feet were once again telling me it was time to go home. I hailed a cab and headed back to my hotel, to sleep for one final night in New York before moving on tomorrow.

View from my hotel window, Ramada Inn East Side, New York
Minolta X-570 with 24mm f/2.8 MC VFC Rokkor Film: Fuji NPZ 800

So there is the end of my third and last day in New York. I sure saw more than anyone could expect to see in three days, and while I was certainly very busy, I loved every minute of it. Thanks again to my guides Bernard and Fran, without whom I am sure I would have seen only a fraction of what I experienced.

I hope you are enjoying my journey, and if so, please visit again next week to see my memories from my time in Washington DC.

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