/ The New York City Traveler
New York — By Steve Mirsky on February 25, 2010 at 10:45 am
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Times Square Walking Tour

Remember when Times Square was far from a tourist destination…a place you’d never want to take the kids…with peep shows, grime, and scores of men down on their luck hitting a paper bag encrusted bottle? No? Well then, do yourself a favor and take the free Times Square Exposé Free Walking Tour sponsored by the Times Square Alliance.

Times Square At Night

Originally called Longacre Square, this neighborhood was dubbed Times Square in 1904, when as legend has its name was changed when the New York Times headquarters was built at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue.  Today over 26 million people visit this epicenter of bright lights and dynamism each year.

Tours typically take you through historic theatres, past the art deco former Paramount Pictures headquarters, the ultra-modern New York Times Building and perhaps inside a church or two. John’s Pizzeria, a deconsecrated church, boasts remarkable stained glass windows and the savory aroma of their signature coal fired pizza.

Guides point out interesting architectural details and the stories behind them such as the marble and bronze statues depicting famous actresses on the outside walls of the I. Miller Shoe Building. Apparently, Miller, an immigrant cobbler, made shoes that were a hit with Broadway actresses like Ethel Barrymore and Mary Pickford.  In 1929, he erected these statues in their honor representing these stars’ respective leading roles as Ophelia and Little Lord Fauntleroy.

Tour leaves every Friday rain or shine at noon from the Times Square Information Center housed in the restored Embassy Theater on 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets and lasts about two hours. No pre-registration required but do sign-in.

photo courtesy of mediabistro.com

Related places:
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    Embassy Theatres
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