Camel Smoke Ring Billboard designed by Douglas Leigh, 1941
“Times Square is the most familiar and most frequently reproduced fragment of urban real estate on the planet.” James Traub
Since its beginning just over a hundred years ago, Times Square has been through many incarnations, each one a reflection of the social and economic condition of its time. The square, which is not technically a square, has gone from being the epitome of urbanity in the early decades of the 20th century to the urban collapse of the 60s and 70s. Its revival in the early 90s, which many New Yorkers decried as the Disney-fication of Times Square, has led to its present guise as a capital of popular culture, with the corporate headquarters for such giant media companies as Condé Nast, Viacom and Reuters competing for space with the world’s busiest McDonald’s outpost and the largest Toys ‘R Us store. Yet what really attracts the thousands of tourists daily is its manifestation of global marketing, Times Square’s famous “Spectaculars,” so-called since before World War I. The first billboard on Times Square went up on Broadway in 1904, and by 1907 electric billboards began to dazzle the crowd. The most eye-catching early billboards were designed by O.J. Gude, dubbed the Sign King of Times Square, who in 1917 installed a 200-foot long spectacular on the west side of Broadway between 43rd and 44th, complete with 12 gleaming moving spearmen. Gude also cunningly joined the Municipal Arts Society, a leading opponent of big signs at the time, and influenced the city to adopt zoning ordinances that eliminated big electric signs anywhere in midtown except Times Square. The man who dominated the billboards from the mid-30s is the pioneering lighting designer Douglas Leigh. Some of his most memorable and spectacular signs for Times Square include A&P’s sign for Eight O’Clock Coffee with clouds of steam emanating from a large cup of coffee and a Camel billboard that blew smoke rings from a steam generator. For Pepsi Cola, he designed a spectacular that featured a 120-foot waterfall pumping 50,000 gallons of water a day. Leigh’s creations led to ever more innovative, colossal and dazzling displays on Times Square. Today the leading spectaculars are made up of millions of L.E.D.’s, capable of transmitting live footage and unimaginable pyrotechnics. As befitting the current environmental consciousness, 30 of the spectaculars in the area have switched to wind power via an electric supply agreement with ConEdison. The rent of these billboards, which run from $100,000 to $260,000 a month, has rendered the 1 Times Square building–the very one that lends its name to the square–empty of tenants except on the first 3 floors. The building is far more profitable to run as a billboard. With millions of people flocking to Times Square every year, and billions of people around the globe watching it daily on the news and on New Year’s Eve, advertising here has become a premium. Tourists come to gawk at the signs, which feeds their attraction for advertisers, who dream up ever more spectacular creations. But in the end, what makes this carnival of lights in Times Square different from Las Vegas? What will be the future incarnation of Times Square if it is to avoid devolving into Las Vegas? As it has done over a century, Times Square will undoubtedly change as the city of New York moves forward in the 21st century. As James Traub wrote, “The last word on Times Square will never be written.”
- posted by Ngoc Minh Ngo
a page of tumbling madness: you - yes, you! - can teach yourself how to program. -
in the beginning was the question
do you think it’s possible to teach yourself programming?
a friend of mine asked me that a couple of nights ago, to my delight. my answer, of course, was
as a matter of fact, any self-respecting programmer you’ve ever met is mostly…
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis welcomes the latest jobs report, Latino unemployment drops - finally. (Photo: Fox News)
By STEPHEN KEPPEL
The big economic news of the week is that unemployment fell again in December as nearly 200,000 jobs were created in the month. The official unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.5%, the lowest rate in almost three years. The Latino unemployment rate, which had been stuck for two months at 11.4%, also dropped - to 11% - in the month.
Minimal Musings: Travel, Style, Slimming Down.: Wardrobe Mega Sale - Day 4 (New Items Added) -
Thanks for anyone that has bought my items so far. I’m going to try to make this even a better deal - buy any 2 items and get 10% off, any 3 and get 15% off, any 4 and get 20% off. Spread the word!
As you may or may not know, I am moving across the country in less than a month. I’m currently…
: Casting Crowns continues to inspire audiences of all ages -
Popular Christian music group Casting Crowns will perform at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum Nov. 26, along with the groups Sanctus Real, the Afters and special guest Lindsay McCaul.
By J.J. KINDRED
With multiple Dove, Grammy and other awards…
Suit w/ Sneakers: SXSW 2012 Debriefing.... -
Me and my DJ, Joules, got to Austin early on Tuesday morning, experienced our first taste of SXSW traffic, and got our badges at the Austin Convention Center. We then scoped out where the Flamingo Cantina was, which was an entirely overwhelming experience. It was not even the beginning of the…
ROADTRIP JOURNAL #1
“The Cheapest Resort In Florida” is not actually a resort at all. But the large pool with dozens of deck chairs, cabana with wi-fi/air-conditioning/books/giant tv, and free showers would beg to tell you differently. The laundry with outdoor clothes-line and large open fire pits would also like to remind you that this week there will be two free buses to casinos should you decide to partake. The ice cream social and annual flea market & craft fair are also attempting to direct your attention to the wonders of the 230+ acre park next door; there you’ll find a large natural lake with water slides, awkward looking ducks & more giant sized palm trees than you know what to do with.
So what is this place, strangely set in ultra-lux, show thy wealth Miami, FL? Please feel welcome at the Larry & Penny Memorial Park & Campground! Yes the majority of residents are extended stay, over 55 & brandishing RVs of a serious nature. But the joy of this is that the tents’ area is completely clear and for just $17/night a bright orange Marmot tent can freely perch on its’ rocky dirt ground. Tonight the hookah will flow freely from our damp wooden table, and the the smoke shall obscure the moon. (Or the real clouds will, it’s a toss-up).
Elaborate narrative aside, it is beautiful here. High 70s-low 80s with overcast skies that are courtesy of the thunderstorm rain we had all last night. Our exceedingly good looking and well-behaved dog is technically not welcome in the tent area - why? no clue. no good reason was given. there’s no bears or alligators here - although dogs are everywhere else in the RV area. We snuck him in last night and pled guilty today, begging for an exception for tonight. Thankfully it was granted, and I played mini-soccer with the pug in the back lot while my BF showered after his run.
Shot a set for Zivity in the (controlled?) burned area of palms near the water in my cut-offs & new earrings. It was the fourth of the trip! The first one is already up and can be seen here: http://www.zivity.com/models/Vaunt/photosets/38 We also shot some beautiful art nudes as well I’ll post as soon as I have them. I’m trying to smile more and I swear I’m getting better at it! Practice, worry about face wrinkles, practice, practice.
I don’t want to ramble on forever, so here are some highlights from the month-long trip, which is currently clocking in right in the middle. Jacksonville, Raleigh, Charleston, Richmond & DC coming up!
- Trying to outrun snow than getting caught anyways, and being forced to stay at a great hotel & shoot instead.
- Stopping in Charleston, WV for a break & being pleasantly surprised! Pies & Pints restaurant, and more vintage & antiques than you can shake a stick at.
- Seeing Echo & Colin J. Rae in Tennessee, and the great hang-outs that resulted in me getting to know both of them better.
- Overnight stop in Columbus, MS to catch-up with a childhood friend I haven’t seen in 10years. Thanks for the ancient aliens education & taking me to the BEST VINTAGE STORE ON EARTH, The Attic!
- Hanging out with my fav super-science major & gorgeous redhead Jess Robinson, then going to the amazing Dolly Python store where I lusted after jars of coral & bone fragments.
- Doing a high-end club promotion video & multiple look editorial in Dallas, TX. I fear that I will never again wear so much clothing I personally couldn’t afford, and being hand delivered deeeeelicious BBQ.
- Entering the cave of Hattie Watson and her BF in Austin, TX where we watched a documentary on black metal & I bought skunk skins.
- The very, very long trek from there to Tampa, FL during which my phone ran out of data usage. Oops!
- Meeting the beyond talented & fun Colin Christian and collaborating on ideas for sculptures & latex.
- FINALLY meeting Lauren Peralta in Orland, FL + getting to shoot with her and Jose who is my favorite Tito :P
- Realizing & exploiting McDonalds for its free wireless & less than $3.00 meals. The good outways the bad on that one, but I can’t wait to eat better when I get home.
And, your two Moments of Zen:
Why are so many elderly folks’ dogs mean & yippie? And why does my nose burn instead of freckle-ing like my cheeks? EXPLAIN, UNIVERSE, EXPLAIN YOURSELF.
RTD Virginia Politics Blog: UPDATED: Webb votes against repealing oil subsidies -
BY WESLEY P. HESTER
Undercutting Democrats’ week of attacks on U.S. Sen. Candidate George Allen, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., today voted against legislation that would have stripped $24 billion in tax subsidies from the country’s five largest oil companies.
Shortly after President Barack Obama urged…
Invincible by Ryan Ottley
Aw man. The house is a mess, mom’s going to kill me when she gets home.