New Years Trivia: What’s Really Happening at One Times Square

Tonight the eyes of millions will be on this spot:  the iconic One Times Square. 

That’s the spot at the intersection of Broadway, Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, where a sailor grabbed a passing nurse for a kiss at the end of World War II.

It’s the Midtown corner where thousands of tourists and revelers gather each year on New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop.

The façade of the slim 25-story building is a concrete and marble canvas for some of the flashiest neon advertising in existence.  There are 19 spots for advertisements, and the building’s owner receives in excess of $20 million annually in advertising revenue.  At least two of the advertising slots rent for $3.5 million a year—roughly the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad.

But did you know that except for Walgreens, which leases the lower floors, the building itself is mostly vacant?

The street-level retail space was once leased by the Warner Brothers Store; but when they broke the lease, it remained vacant for years.  And the rest of the building is vacant by design:  When Jamestown Properties and Sherwood Equities purchased One Times Square in 1996, they found it was no longer up to code.  Updating the wiring, heating, ventilation system, air conditioning and mechanics would be a costly investment, especially since the building’s location, at the intersection of three major streets, meant that the irregular floor plan provided little usable floor space for offices or shops.  And the building’s unusually high ceilings further reduced the income potential.  Better, the new owners thought, to use it strictly for advertising revenue, rather than invest in the costly updates necessary to make it useful to renters.

Here, Business Insider offers a unique look at the New Years Eve ball.

Happy New Year!



  • Chris Henrichsen

    Fun trivia. Thanks!