New York City is often called the “City That Never Sleeps,” and perhaps no place in the whole city embodies that sentiment like the area known as Times Square. The iconic neighborhood is instantly recognizable, thanks to its countless appearances in media, television and films. In fact, the famous tower at One Times Square is one of the most photographed buildings in the entire world!
While most people recognize the imagery of the area, very few people know what it’s like to live in Times Square. For those with the means, the desire and the thirst for excitement, it’s a fun and fascinating place to live. Whether you’re looking to buy an apartment or rent one, here are some of the most exciting cultural aspects of living in Times Square.
Table of Contents:
- 1. You can always catch a show.
- 2. You’ll meet all types of people…
- 3. Including street performers.
- 4. You’ll find a place of worship.
- 5. You can shop till you drop.
- 6. You’ll be close to a hot restaurant scene.
- 7. There’s plenty of nightlife.
- 8. You can start new annual traditions.
- 9. It’s home to a famous television studio.
- 10. The neighbors care for each other.
- 11. You’ll see your neighborhood on the big screen.
- 12. You won’t need a car.
- 13. The locals take pride in the city.
- 14. COVID-19 hit hard, but Times Square has recovered.
- 10 More Things to Know About Living in Times Square
- 1. It has a lot of nicknames.
- 2. It was named after the newspaper.
- 3. Housing costs are high.
- 4. It is critical to the city’s economy.
- 5. Households are mostly white-collar and child-free.
- 6. There are plenty of child-friendly attractions.
- 7. The weather can vary.
- 8. Yes, there is crime.
- 9. There are lots and lots of people.
- 10. It is bright.
1. You can always catch a show.
If you love live entertainment, New York City’s Broadway area is the hottest place in the world to catch a show. Times Square is located in the theater district and most of the 41 official Broadway theaters are within walking distance. Long-running classics like Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, and The Lion King are put on for much of each week. Typically, shows are performed every day from Tuesday through Sunday, with Monday being the traditional day off for the average Broadway worker.
Broadway attendance in May 2022 averaged 252,498 visitors per week, and the industry made $32.05 million per week. These numbers represent a strong recovery from the two-year-long pandemic lull, and numbers are now approaching attendance levels from the same month in 2019. Bravo!
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2. You’ll meet all types of people…
The people of Times Square are considered a good representation of Manhattan as a whole. The borough has a relatively diverse population, although not as much as some of the other neighborhoods around the city. According to World Population Review, Manhattan’s population is about 50.7% Non-Hispanic White, 10.3% Asian, and 15.5% African American. Over a quarter of the population is foreign-born.
Many religions are well-represented around Manhattan, including Roman Catholicism (more than 36% of the population), Judaism (20.5%), Protestantism (9%), and Islam (2.5%).
Beyond the diversity of the locals, Times Square is host to an influx of tourists and visitors each day that outnumber the actual residents. People come from all around the world to attend shows, partake in the world-class cuisine and take in the iconic sights.
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3. Including street performers.
Walking down the street, you will undoubtedly come across many street performers who dress up like characters, put on acrobatic performances, or sing songs for passers-by. You may want to stop and check out these eccentric shows.
4. You’ll find a place of worship.
Believe it or not, there are plenty of houses of worship in Times Square. The most famous is called the Times Square Church and serves those of the Christian faith, but there are numerous synagogues, mosques and chapels to serve populations of all faiths who live in or visit the community.
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5. You can shop till you drop.
An area that attracts so many tourists is bound to have a thriving retail scene. Times Square delivers on that promise. Jewelry, watches, accessories, gifts, makeup and clothing for men, women and children are sold throughout the entire area. The best part is that Times Square shopping is relatively affordable compared to more upscale shopping areas like Fifth Avenue.
Stores that appeal to the average consumer, such as The Gap, Sunglass Hut, Levi’s and Old Navy, can all be found centrally located within Times Square itself.
6. You’ll be close to a hot restaurant scene.
From street fare to local award-winning cuisine, Times Square has something for any taste. While there are far too many restaurants to list individually, locals certainly have their pick of any type of food imaginable.
Chain restaurants such as T.G.I. Friday’s and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. dot the streets, but hard-core foodies will want to check out some of the other local options. Steakhouses, pizzerias, cafes, and all types of locally owned international restaurants are easily accessible from the center of the square. For dessert, the square is also home to numerous bakeries and candy shops to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Living here will make you rarely want to use your kitchen!
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7. There’s plenty of nightlife.
Times Square itself is open 24 hours a day, and many of the businesses there, including bars, restaurants and clubs, are open very late –, until 2 a.m. or later. The area itself boasts dozens of places for young people to show up and let loose well into the early morning hours.
8. You can start new annual traditions.
The area is home to several annual festivals and events that everyone can enjoy, none of them more famous than the annual New Year’s Eve gathering. It is estimated that over one million people flock to Times Square every year to witness the annual ball drop, which is now televised nationally on multiple networks.
February brings with it Valentine’s Day, and also the annual Love in Times Square event. Couples show up to celebrate their unions with surprise proposals, vow renewals and even weddings right in the middle of all the action.
Each June, over 40 of the area’s local restaurants get together to put on the Taste of Times Square street fair. Each restaurant typically offers a small taste of their menu for an affordable price. People gather to sample everything and find out what they like best.
Solstice in Times Square is an annual mass yoga event bringing people together to celebrate wellness and welcome the summer season. 2022 marked the 20th anniversary of the event.
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9. It’s home to a famous television studio.
Located on the corner of West 44th Street and Broadway is the world-famous Times Square Studios. It is owned by the Walt Disney Company and is perhaps most famous for producing ABC shows such as Good Morning America as well as several ESPN-related programs.
10. The neighbors care for each other.
To directly address issues that may arise in the community, a group called the Times Square Alliance was founded back in 1992. The group does a whole lot for the area, including employing public safety officers and sanitation services, promoting local businesses, encouraging economic development, coordinating annual events, making public improvements and advocating for the neighborhood’s citizens on the city government level.
More recently, the Alliance has been involved in navigating crime reform to address incidents around the area. They have also formed a new program called Community First, which is designed to help connect people experiencing homelessness to public services to help get them back on their feet. According to the group’s president, they have seen a significant drop in unhoused people sleeping on the streets in recent years.
11. You’ll see your neighborhood on the big screen.
Times Square has been featured in countless major movie productions throughout the years and serves as a very popular location for the stories. From classic dramas like Midnight Cowboy to the Captain America films of today, Times Square is a staple of American cinema, and seeing your neighborhood in a movie is always exciting!
12. You won’t need a car.
Owning a car anywhere in New York can become a real hassle. In addition to the scarcity of available parking, residents often have to pay sky-high prices for spots in garages. Often these garages aren’t even close to their residences! Luckily, Times Square is walkable to any daily amenities you might need, and you can also easily access many lines of New York’s subway system, including the N, Q, R, S, W, 1, 2, 3 and 7.
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13. The locals take pride in the city.
Sports fans and frequent visitors already know how deeply New Yorkers care for their city. If you ask many of them, they will tell you that it is the greatest city in the world! If you want to live in a place that has a culture of pride and loyalty, Times Square is probably top of the heap.
14. COVID-19 hit hard, but Times Square has recovered.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the culture of Times Square. It has been estimated that as many as 26 hotels, 39 stores and 84 restaurants were forced to shut down during the pandemic, although there has been a great rebound in 2022. Visitors have flooded back into the area at levels that match those of 2019. The theater industry has also rebounded nicely.
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10 More Things to Know About Living in Times Square
1. It has a lot of nicknames.
Times Square’s nicknames include “The Center of the Universe,” “The Crossroads of the World,” “The Great White Way,” and “The Heart of the World.” If the area wanted to let you know how exciting it is, these nicknames would do the trick!
2. It was named after the newspaper.
The square got its name in 1905 when the owner of the New York Times decided to construct a large building and move the newspaper’s offices there. Eventually, the paper moved to a new location, but the name stuck, and the tower is the iconic One Times Square that we all know today.
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3. Housing costs are high.
If you want to buy a home in the Times Square neighborhood, you’ll have to be able to pay up. In the first quarter of 2022, the median sale price of a property in Times Square was $945,000. That is a tough price point, but people who have the means know that they are paying a premium to live in one of the most exciting areas in the entire country.
Renting isn’t much easier. Three-bedroom Times Square apartments will cost renters about $4,773 per month — well above average, even for New York City.
4. It is critical to the city’s economy.
Times Square itself makes up 0.1% of the total land area of New York City. Still, it supports almost 10% of the jobs and makes up 15% of the total economy. This is an enormous percentage for the size, and also points to the many job opportunities in the area.
According to the official Times Square website, 180,000 people work in the neighborhood. There are 19,000 hotel rooms and 31,000,000 square feet of office space.
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5. Households are mostly white-collar and child-free.
The residents in the district are 96% white-collar workers as opposed to blue, which fits in with the cost of housing.
Less than 9% of households have children residing there, making this an exciting place for young professionals with the means to live here. The interesting thing about Times Square itself is that it doesn’t have too many permanent residents compared to other areas of the city. It is constantly filled with commuters and visitors.
6. There are plenty of child-friendly attractions.
Even though there isn’t a high percentage of households with children in the area, the square itself does feature some child-friendly stores and activities. There is a Disney Store location, a Dave and Buster’s arcade restaurant, an M&M’s Store, and a Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, just to name a few.
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7. The weather can vary.
Like the rest of the northeast, New York City is prone to hot, humid summers and cool, wet winters. Snow is infrequent but can build up pretty high during large storms. The most damaging weather events to happen in the area are the strong winds and rainfall that occur with tropical storms and hurricanes traveling up the eastern U.S. coast. Flooding does occasionally happen during such storms.
8. Yes, there is crime.
Unfortunately, Manhattan as a whole is not the best place to go to avoid crime. The violent crime rate is higher than the national average and a lot higher than NYC in general. Property crimes are higher as well. Sometimes that comes with the territory of living in a larger, busier area.
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9. There are lots and lots of people.
Approximately 360,000 people walk through Times Square each and every day. For people who don’t like noisy neighborhoods, this might not be the best choice. But for those who are more socially inclined, living here will present the daily opportunity to go out and meet people from every corner of the world.
10. It is bright.
When you mention Times Square, the first image that probably comes to mind is all the neon signage and the brightness of the lights glowing from every building. The whole area is lit up all night, every night. The locals will tell you to invest in some good curtains if you want to get any sleep!
The Times Square neighborhood is one of the most exciting areas in one of the most exciting cities in America. Tourism-focused and commercial, it is a place with a completely unique culture. While it is expensive to relocate and live there, the residents know that they are paying for the experience of living in this one-of-a-kind, world-famous neighborhood.
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