LOOKING UP TO LOOK DOWN
WHAT IS REALLY BEHIND THOSE BILLBOARDS and BRIGHT LIGHTS?
As with everyone else in Times Square, last week I spent much of my time looking up —or looking at the tourists looking up or taking upward photos of neon lights. A few were taking photos of each other but I am sure that “up” was the larger percentage of photos. Mind you, a few very unhappy teenagers sitting around a table were doing that head down “don’t bother me” thing but upwards was othwerwise the mode. Suddenly, I realized that I wanted to look down on Times Square, like the lucky few in offices with a sight line. But is there such a thing as a downward sight line? So, I started to look up to see where in reality I, physically, could look down and not just via Goggle Earth.
From my earthly perch, I noticed that 1515 Broadway had trees – ah – maybe someone goes out on the terrace and tends them. Yes, they do plus a bit more. The 9th floor of 1515 is an “employee only terrace” that looks down over Times Square. No luck in convincing them of my employment so onto the next possible site. The Golden Arches come though, having a 2nd floor dining area. So with a big Mac in hand, lunch over-looking Father McDuffy Square was an interesting experience, but not quite high enough. So I headed across the street to the Marriot Hotel to try my luck for better views.
Floors 8 and 9 of the Marriot have cocktail lounges. The “back” sections of the lounges are in the “curve” of the building with large windows over looking Times Square. These areas on 8 and 9 were both closed, but with a smile and quickly saying something about Columbia University, I got straight to the windows. And wow, what great views, straight down, north and south. From the perspective looking down, things seem even smaller than looking up. The thought of finding a place to go higher, into 1 of the 700 foot high office buildings was of no interest to me - floor 9 is high enough.
Oh, and talking about the 700 foot office buildings —- they are higher than our “project corridor” is long… As Jan Johnson would say – “not a very good scale” but by now we all know that.
So what is behind most of the bright lights of Broadway? Nothing pretty, just lots of Air Conditioning units and whatever else comes in big metal boxes where present day neon conceals 20th Century technology.
3 years ago