Jaw-dropping, majestic, iconic—these three words only begin to describe the infamous commercial intersection that makes up Times Square in Midtown, Manhattan. Thanks to the larger-than-life billboards that adorn its buildings, this strip has become one of the most famous global tourist attractions in the world. But, imagine what Times Square would look like without its luminous signs? Well, start marinating some images together because the billboards might not be around much longer.
Capital New York and CBS2 first reported that “a 2012 federal transportation law had ensnared Times Square by declaring that the storied Broadway and 7th Avenue intersection — and other city streets— fell under the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, because they were arterial routes to the federal highway system. The 1965 law says billboards within 660 feet of a highway can’t be more than 1,200 square feet. And Times Square’s looming luminous signs certainly fall outside those restrictions.”
In a statement issued Thursday concerning the issue, officials said that they’ll find a way to “correct this unintentional consequence of the 2012 law”. Presumably, the billboards that make up the “crossroads of the world” will not be removed any time soon, if ever.
Now, seriously try to visualize what Times Square would look like without its iconic billboard dressing. The thought is truly unimaginable. As a New Yorker, it is easy to take for granted landmarks and streets that have become a part of our everyday lives. Usually, we do everything in our power to avoid crowded areas like this; it would be very rare if we were to ever take a moment to appreciate this familiar site- unless it suddenly disappeared.
While we are confident that the iconic billboards of Times Square will not be removed, we want to hear what the rest of New York thinks. Will city officials be able to resolve this “unintentional consequence?” If not, what do you think the economical consequences would be? How would you re-imagine a new Times Square (if you even could)?
Read more about this here.