I generally hate working in Times Square for the obvious reasons, but I have to admit there’s something about it that I find intriguing.
Times Square is probably the most carefully studied property in New York City. Every single inch has been examined and re-examined by developers trying to add a few more video billboards, or another theme restaurant (you have committed a mortal sin if you came to New York and ate at any of the following: Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, ESPN Zone, Mars 2112, Bubba Gump Shrimp, or The Olive Garden).
Times Square feels like the one single part of NYC that has had the life thoroughly squeezed out of it. But one of the few redeeming aspects of it is how some of the old still manages to cling to existence. If you look very carefully between the glitter and gloss, you’ll see some pretty fascinating relics and artifacts, made all the more interesting for their ability to withstand the forces against them.
One of my favorites is on West 40th Street between Broadway and 6th. It’s two blocks from the main Times Square action, and you can feel the frantic energy vanish as soon as you turn onto the street.
If you look closely at the building to the left, you’ll see are five incredible sculpted figures, each with his own throne of sorts, deep in thought, legs dangling:
I have no clue who these people are, or are supposed to represent. But the detail work on them is really incredible.
The building is 119 West 40th Street and was built in 1915 – I’m having trouble finding anything more than that. I believe that each of them may be holding a different representation of humanity; for example, the man on the right seems to be holding a cog of some sort, perhaps representing industry?
Seriously, the craftsmanship is amazing. It looks like these guys could suddenly stand up and climb off the ledge through the adjacent windows. I think their shoes are my favorite part:
The two above have more neutral expressions, whereas the first two seem somewhat troubled:
I like to think of these guys as philosophers, sitting perched on a building south of Times Square and eternally pondering the mysteries of the universe. Perhaps they’ve figured out why someone would voluntarily wait 3 hours in line for a table at the Olive Garden.