Location Scout Highlight: NYC: Times Square 42nd Street at Night:
Times Square in New York City is one of Manhattan’s most iconic locations. Out-of-towners, depending on the circumstances of their visit to Manhattan, may not see much else, but they are likely to see at least part of Times Square!
In recent years a MAJOR rehabilitation of the western part of 42nd Street (as well as the rest of Times Square and many other former problem areas of New York City) has occurred which has been extremely successful for sending crime statistics plummeting, however, there are those who contend that the changes along 42nd St have robbed the city of a chunk of its character. The seedy and bawdy 42nd Street of the past has for certain been replaced by a wholesome mainstream environment, so much so that it is considered in some circles to be somewhat of a “Disneyland in New York”. Chain businesses abound where smaller, more distinctive (for better or worse…) businesses once existed, the former concentration of adult businesses along 42nd Street seems to have relocated itself primarily along 8th Avenue and in the case of adult book / video / DVD stores, it appears they must also be required to carry mainstream merchandise as well in order to be allowed to exist.
But the adult business was never ALL what 42nd Street was about, there were a good number of independent movie theaters that ran independent, low-budget, import and avant-garde “art” films and 42nd Street was an important part of the business models for many independent filmmakers for many years. Nowadays the smaller filmmakers are left to scavange for venues, other than perhaps well-known “art-theaters” in other parts of town, such as The Angelikas, Film Forum and Two Boots Pioneer Theater.
As an aside, the night I made the photograph above I had just come out of seeing Dark Knight at a Multiplex chain theater – 25 theaters on 6 floors to be exact and mine was on the top floor – it took like 10 minutes each way to get up and down!
There is an excellent section of the online New York History which details segments of the history of 42nd Street and Times Square:
New York History | Sex, money, and politics at the crossroads of the world
by Marc Eliot
The history of the Times and Chrysler buildings, mayors Ed Koch, Jimmy Walker, Fiorello Henry La Guardia, and lots of other engaging details about the world’s most notorious intersection (back when Times Square was!).
As far as production might be concerned, a little common sense is in order. 42nd Street is literally “crossroads of the world” so if your crew is of any appreciable size with any number of vehicles involved, you are are liable to relegated to shooting on a weekend very early morning.
The New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB) issues film / video / photo permits needed for filming in New York City, which of course, include 42nd Street and Times Square.
Times Square, New York City, NY on Flickr
Times Square, New York City: This series was photographed a few years ago when I was figuring out the best ways to produce panoramic photos for my film location files for my location library at locamundo.com. At the time I was playing around with Photoshop’s transform tools (skewer, perspective); in the quick-n-dirty world of location scouting photography, you use snapshot cameras and there are always differences in perspective (and often exposure) from frame to frame. The transforms and pasting layers didn’t turn out to be the most efficient way to make my pano’s (now I res the files down to screen resolution and use a stitching program, an oldie but goodie, PhotoVista) but it cant be denied that the transforms made for some interesting “art”
Possibly filming locations around the Times Square, New York City area
New York Times which established its offices and printing plant nearby. For a long period in the mid-20th century, the area of 42nd Street near Times Square was home to peep shows and other activities often considered unsavory. A comedian once said, “They call it 42nd Street because you’re not safe if you spend more than forty seconds on it.