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Broadway

Broadway attracts thousands of visitors and tourists because of its abundant theaters and eye-catching lights of Times Square. It also happens to have a very rich history that goes back centuries. The part of Broadway running directly through the Theater District and Times Square is packed with theaters, cinemas, and restaurants.

Broadway history

Manhattan’s earliest inhabitants, the Native Americans, first inhabited the Wickquasgeck Trail. We know this trail as Broadway Street. Workers carved the trail through swamps and rocks along the length of Manhattan Island. The Indians used it daily. Later, the trail became the main transit road through the island from Nieuw Amsterdam upon the arrival of the Dutch.

Broadway Watercolor Painting
Broadway Watercolor Painting

In the 18th century, Broadway ended at the two town commons North of Wall Street. At the time, that was where traffic continued up the West side of Manhattan island via Bloomingdale Road. During the 19th century, workers paved and widened Bloomingdale Road, and renamed it, “Western Boulevard”. In 1899, the official name “Broadway” covered the entire area containing Broadway and the Western Boulevard.

Theater District

There are so many theatrical productions in NY that there’s one on almost every corner of the streets. However, that hasn’t always been the case. Back in 1732, theatrical activity took place anywhere available with decent conditions. For example, an empty space near the intersection of Maiden Lane and Pearl Street. Then, however, New York Theater had finally become an institution, much to the comfort and convenience of theater enthusiasts.

During the 1800’s, some fine theaters were located on Broadway, including one that was one of the most noted among the upper social classes, the theater inside Niblo’s Garden. Around the 1870’s, changes such as the incandescent lightbulb caught on in a trend among theater owners and operators, and by the 1890’s, all the gas lamps that filled the New York streets were replaced by more convenient and complex lighting systems, especially in the Times Square District. Since Broadway became one of the first streets to fully be lit by electric lights, it was named, “The Great White Way”.

Broadway Oil Painting
Broadway Oil Painting

The art and photo offered at nyArt.com do a great job of using different bright colors to draw all focus to the famed billboards of Times Square, and the many people strolling through the streets and taking in the view. Some photos focus specifically on the unique building at the crossing of Broadway and Fifth Avenue, known as the Flatiron Building. The art also captures some of New York’s all-time famous plays on Broadway, such as “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Cats”, “Les Miserables”, and more. Buy these artworks and photos to enjoy the view of one of the most intriguing and historically rich places in all of New York from your own home.

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Times Square

The wild and lively district of Times Square, previously known as Longacre Square, has been around for decades. It has been one of the main attractions of tourists from all across the world for decades.

The Times Square alone, has previously, and continues, to attract around 50 million visitors every year; most of those visitors pay their visits to Times Square to see the classic ball drop on New Year’s Eve. The annual ball drop has been a tradition since the New York Times newspaper’s December 31st arrival. Publisher Adolph Ochs held a New Year’s Eve event including the presentation of the ball drop atop the Time Building.

Times Square Watercolor Painting
Times Square Watercolor Painting

 

Billboards

One of Times Square’s famous attractions are the billboards that catch eyes of onlookers from miles away with their glow. One of Times Square’s most iconic billboards included a large smoker puffing out real rings of smoke over the streets; as well as a giant electric Kleenex sign constructed with over 25,000 lightbulbs. A famous 1930’s billboard advertised Wrigley’s gum with colorful waves, tropical fish, and floating bubbles that migrated to a boy sitting on a pack of gum. In 1901, O.J. Gude, an advertising man, originated the “The Great White Way” when he realized the commercial potential of electrically enhanced billboards.

Advances in transportation made the Times Square district widely accessible and investors realized the profits of theaters as real estate. As a result, Times Square attracted agents, producers, restaurants, hotels, and theatrical clubs. Theaters began being built by financial backers working with producers. As well as theorists who knew that a major hit show could potentially bring in millions in one year.

Times Square history

The Depression ruined the Times Square district; slowly the charm of it lessened as crime rate increased in the 1970’s and 80’s. Times Square coped with this suffering until 1992 when the BID (Times Square Business Improvement District) began taking action by assessing six million dollars each year from the 400 merchants to be spent on issues such as safety, cleanup, and marketing. The success of a GAP clothing store was the first small step in encouraging retailers to reopen and move into the district. The most important newbie was the Walt Disney company which entered the area in 1993, and two years later reopened the New Amsterdam Theater following a 36 million dollar renovation. Prior to the grand reopening of the theater, the Walt Disney company worked to motivate retailers, theorists, and many others to invest in the area. Hence, Times Square thrived once more.

Times Square Oil Painting
Times Square Oil Painting

To be engrossed by what the bright billboards, magnificent theaters, and swamped roads of the “The Great White Way” have to offer, browse the varieties of paintings and photographs we present at nyArt.com. The compositions focus on all parts of the energy given off Times Square. Every artwork brings attention to the bright lights adorning the numerous buildings along the street, to the multitude of diverse people gazing at the skyscrapers, to the traffic-filled roads and the occupied tourists. Purchase an artwork or a photograph to be involved in the exuberant energy from the comfort of your own home.