One Times Square’s 300-Foot-Long LED Screen Nearly Completed, in Times Square

One Times Square taken in April through early May. Photos by Michael Young.

One Times Square, aka the Times Tower, is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Millions of tourists from across the country and around the world constantly take photos of Times Square, formerly called Longacre Square, and the flashing digital advertisements that run nonstop year round. Even more view it during the annual ball drop and lighting of the four numbers at the start of every year since 1904. The culturally iconic and economically famous 25-story skyscraper stands 363 feet tall and is in the midst of getting a 21st century makeover. Six giant screens that once lit the slender northern wall have been taken down and will be consolidated into one 350-foot-tall LED panel. Jamestown is the owner of the property. One Times Square can be touted as the most expensive and lucrative place on the planet to advertise.

Photos taken over the past several months since the start of the year show how fast work has progressed.

One Times Square in 2018. Photo by Michael Young

One Times Square in March 2019. Photo by Michael Young

One Times Square in early May 2019. Photo by Michael Young

The previously existing monitors facing north were all taken down. This includes the three screens above the setback located behind the New Years Eve ball, which have already been replaced and turned on. Additional supporting frames for the backside of the screens have gone in between parts of the old suspended structure. Earlier this year was the best time to see the front side of the 1960’s facade.

The arched window can be seen behind the frame of the old screen. Photo taken in March 2019 by Michael Young

The top of the northern facade below the main setback. Photo taken in March 2019 by Michael Young

Allied Chemical Corporation purchased the structure from Douglas Leigh in 1963 and recladded the curtain wall with the white marble we see it today. The original design showed a much more appealing and ornately decorated Renaissance-inspired take. Their logo was once displayed on all four sides of the highest part of the Times Tower.

Another significant part of the exterior that was removed was the “zipper.” This was the first of its kind in the world to display moving words for almost 90 years and was placed near the base of the tower. It was last operated by Dow Jones, starting in 1995. It displayed the most revered message just over 74 years ago when the rapidly flickering lights announced the end of World War II, ushering a plethora of V-E Day celebrations and tightly-packed crowds along the entire stretch of the crossroads.

Walgreens is currently the only tenant that occupies One Times Square. But proposals are in the works for a possible observation deck on the setback, though this has not been officially established. The geodesic ball is still on top of the setback while 2019’s numbers have been temporarily taken down for protection during this external makeover. They should most likely return to their prime spots this summer once the new LED panel below turns on.

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16 Comments on "One Times Square’s 300-Foot-Long LED Screen Nearly Completed, in Times Square"

  1. There are chaotic colors but beautiful views to see, it was glittering to drop in three minutes before walk to subway. (Thanks to Michael Young)

    • Please pardon me for stinking up the place: This reminds me to buy some light bulbs at CVS. (You’re welcome).

  2. Jack Liberman | May 19, 2019 at 6:39 pm | Reply

    This famed early skyscraper served as billboard building and get most of its revenue from that. Walgreen’s store is only tenants, and this is good. I don’t think that we need 300 feet high observation desk there, this tower is famous by it’s billboards and falling New Year Crystal Ball from Swarowsky. Why we also need observation desk here???

  3. Jack Liberman | May 19, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Reply

    We have nice stairwall observation deck platform nearby. This Building is for Billboards.

  4. “Times Square, formerly called Longacre Square” thanks for the clarification, I can never get used to these new names

    • Jack Liberman | May 21, 2019 at 10:18 am | Reply

      And do you know why, because it’s borders between 42st and 47th street or Longacre. About total 45,000 sq feet of land. Or Long Acre. Times Square name is came from this Building what housed Times Newspaper in 1899-1910(?), it was a tallest tower when it was built. The Times Square is actually not a Square at all. It’s bowtie same like of Herald and Greely Square where Broadway crossing 6th Avenue and area between 32nd and 36th Street. Here is crossing area between 42nd and 47th streets, making up Duffy Square at his upper half. Modern Times Square is borderline even two blocks north to 49th Street and two blocks south to 40th Street.
      Also have an area as “New 42nd Street” from One Bryant Park to Eleven Times Square.
      Times Square is also the second name of Entertainment District what’s borderlines between 7th and 8th Avenue and 40th and 54th streets.
      Thanks for Broadway crossing slightly diagonally its creates bowties with major avenue crossing, like 5th Avenue and 23rd, at Flatiron District and Madison Square, at 14th and Park Avenue, making up Union Square, and in the North portion is Famous Columbus Circle, where Broadway crossing 8th Avenue and 59th, and finally Lincoln Square with crossing of Columbus Avenue or Ninth, and Amsterdam Avenue and 72nd and Broadway making another bowtie. And several more bowties in Upper Harlem and Washington Heights.

    • Jack Liberman | May 21, 2019 at 10:43 am | Reply

      “Times Square” is called as is since 1916. Before it was called as “Longacre Square”. Times Building or One Times Square, was housed “The Times” newspaper, the grandfather of NY Times. Longacre or Times Square is a bowties between 42nd and 47th street with Bowtie Crossing of Broadway with Seven Avenue, is not a square at all, just a bowtied intersection. Same as Herald and Greely Square with bowtie crossing of Broadway with Sixth Avenue, between 36th and 32nd, what’s is 2 block shorter bowtie, or Broadway bowtie with Columbus Avenue across Lincoln Center, making Lincoln Square, what’s renamed the whole neighborhood from here to the West up to Hudson river(what is in fact not river, but a fiord, up to the area of Catskill mountains.
      And East River what’s not a River but a narrow Ocean Straight, that’s why Manhattan is an Island!!! It doesn’t have land borders, and all water surrounds Manhattan is salted ocean water.
      So in NYC we have Rivers who are not rivers and Squares who neither as squares. That’s why is NYC is so unique. We have called all contained parts of our city as Boroughs, what in Philadelphia means just as “suburbs”. And lastly name one city in the World who calling any buildings lower than 20 stories as “lowrise”, but we do in Real Estate data file.

  5. This is not 300-feet long. My d-ick is 300. This is high. Not long.

  6. The famous, historic news zipper should never have been removed.

    • I agree. It’s sad that very few people notice or seem to care that this historically important feature of Times Square was removed.

  7. Jack Liberman | May 21, 2019 at 11:19 am | Reply

    What’s make NYC as a World’s most unique city. Several things, The Times Square is one of them, this is one of most visited Intersection in The World, and main entertainment here, not a theaters, restaurants or chic stores, but giant Billboards on the facades of surrounding buildings, the sea of neon and digital advertising, but this just a bowtie intersection, not a square, but unique tourist and entertainment district.
    Second is Island Of Manhattan, why is called like that if surrounded waters are named as “rivers”, because they are not rivers at all!!!
    Third is why All Main Parts of Cities are called with suburban names “boroughs”, including Manhattan, where majority of City 273 built or topped out skyscrapers over 150 meters high is located??? In Philadelphia “boroughs” is suburbs of the city, in NYC “boroughs” is in size of Counties and City Districts, 5 Boroughs made up NYC 8,5 million population. And smallest borough have more pop than is in Atlanta, 475,000. And another schemes we calling any building up to 19 stories as “lowrise”, why??? Lastly our spires but not antennas, made up our buildings taller, like One Bryant Park, new New York Times Building, One World Trade Center, even Chrysler Building. But not Empire State Building, not Four Times Square, or Bloomberg Tower on Lexington, I think is shame to call antenna on the roof of WTC as architectural spire, and not call such more architectural appeared antenna to total height of Empire State Building. Or metal lightning rod on the roof of new NYT Building as “architectural” making it as “supertall” with including this over 300 feet steel lightning rod!!!
    But NYC is unique, so it’s his right to put a new height for benchmark of calling a building as “highrise”, making “highrise” tall Billboards, and first ever Billboard Building have full right to have it’s tallest in the world billboard, a solid 300 feet high without interruption, in building who profits 90% of it’s revenue from Billboards!!!

  8. Jack Liberman | May 21, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Reply

    Btw 300′ high solid billboard is too pathetic, just look on building itself, contains two parts, lower part about 17 story high and tower part is 8 more stories, total, 25 story, 363 feet, or means 14,5 feet average per floor, so longer lower part solid billboard 14,5×17 or 250 feet high and another part of it covering towering 8 floors of 100 feet or so. 250+100 equals 350 feet. But it’s not a solid billboard.

  9. Jack Liberman | May 21, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Reply

    Btw, what’s the better have several ads or one, unless you advertise picture of WTC Observation desk, or Empire State Buiding, or One Vanderbilt, or 30 Hudson Yards making them in actual scale of 1:5 or 1:6.

  10. Miguel Rodriguez | June 1, 2019 at 11:15 am | Reply

    They should take down these billboards and restore the old cladding of the 1900s building. It was more beautiful then.

  11. This one big screen is ugly imo… times square used to be a lot more colorful with the individual screens. And why did they removed the zipper? Its like demolishing the singer building

  12. Nonplussed in New York | June 8, 2022 at 8:07 pm | Reply

    Can’t believe the Zipper was removed without a preservation battle of some sort. Not only was it not battled – it apparently wasn’t even mentioned. When we worked on the Sony spectacular (2010-2017 version), it was an honor to be working right above the famous Zipper. It’s difficult to even find any news about the removal. I see no Gothamist opinions, few mentions in any comment sections (besides this one), no New York Times pieces, not a single entry on the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission website. Boo.

    And that big single sign looks cheap. They’re everywhere now. Blah.

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