This weekend I had a friend visiting from Europe that had not only never been to NYC before, but had never been the the US. I posted the question on Twitter “Have a friend visiting who’s never been to #NYC before. What’s the FIRST thing I should take her to do? ” By and large, the response was universally: take her to Times Square. So, my friends, this week’s edition of UYC’s Walks takes you to none other than the very center of Times Square, Duffy Square.
Take just about any train to 42nd Street Times Square, and head to the heart of it all, i.e. Duffy Square, located between 45th and 47th Streets in between Broadway and Seventh Avenues. The Square was named for Chaplain Francis P. Duffy, who was in the Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment. Today, the square is most famously known for the TKTS reduced-price theater tickets booth located there, and the rising staircase that tourists can be seen lounging on day and night. Helllllloooo photo opp!
“Can art change the world? Maybe…we should change the question: can art change people’s lives?” -JR
We just happened to be visiting on the last day of the photo installation, Inside Out New York City. The artist JR and his team invited New Yorkers and tourists alike to take self-portraits, showing the world what they stand for, in a photo booth truck stationed in Duffy Sqare, ironically the site of the world’s first ever photo booth almost 100 years ago. According to their website (as of 10:19pm May 12th), there have been 5,836 portraits taken in the booth since April 18th, 2013.
Once your photo was taken, you can choose to either take it home or paste it right on the ground of Duffy Square…and let’s get real…what’s cooler than having your portrait pasted in the center of the universe? While this exhibit may not be around by the time you’re taking this stroll, make sure to visit the Times Square website for a list of new exhibits and events that are happening daily! Never a dull moment in Duffy Square, that’s for sure.
And of course you simply can’t leave Duffy Square without a visit to my favorite cheesecake restaurant in all of Manhattan…Juniors! Located at West 45th between Broadway and 8th Avenue, Junior’s has been my go-to dessert spot after every Broadway show I’ve seen. If you’re a chocolate lover, I highly recommend the Devil’s Food Cheesecake, if not, go for the Red Velvet (pictured below!).
And finally, whether you’re playing tour guide or not, a visit to the Marriott Marquis hotel’s top floor restaurant, The View, is absolutely in order. A rotating restaurant, you will get a full view of NYC within the hour that your dinner is served. Drinks are, or course, highly overpriced, but it’s worth the (amazing!) elevator ride to the top and a quick sneak peak around. Don’t worry, you can always claim you were a tourist and didn’t know any better.
What’s your favorite part of visiting Duffy Square?
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen