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10 #Buildings that Changed America

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10 Buildings that Changed America

10 Buildings that Changed America premiered May 12, 2013.

 

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10 trend-setting works of architecture that aren’t just historic structures by famous architects. These buildings have dramatically influenced our built environment in many ways — and in one case, for over two centuries.

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Portraits Of Famous Artists, And The Cats That Kept Them Sane

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Portraits Of Famous Artists, And The Cats That Kept Them Sane

 “I think the artist and cat are kindred spirits, because they are often mythologized,” author Alison Nastasi explained to The Huffington Post. “Both are frequently stereotyped as being aloof or even self-interested.”

Nastasi is the mind behind Artists and Their Cats, an aptly named compilation of photographs illustrating the historic partnership of, well, cat and artist. From Pablo Picasso to Frida Kahlo to Salvador Dali, the book reveals the felines behind some of the biggest painters and sculptors in the business. Because there’s nothing more enchanting than the friendships forged between achingly creative icons and the four-legged creatures that probably kept them sane.

daliSalvador Dali and his ocelot. World Telegram & Sun photo by Roger Higgins; image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

As Nastasi points out, cats tend to co-exist with their owners, generally demanding less attention than a dog — the more dependent of the domestic pets. “I think that’s necessary for an artist, whose focus is usually on what’s happening in the studio,” she added. “There’s a mutual respect or symbiosis … Working in the studio can be isolating sometimes. Cats bring life to a space that still provides an artist with the necessary alone time to thrive.”

The idea for the book started at Flavorwire, where Nastasi works as a weekend editor. After reading an article about Tracey Emin and her beloved cat Docket, Nastasi — whose own cat had just died — wrote a simple listicle for the website about artists and their whiskered sidekicks. Chronicle Books spotted the round-up and voila! A project was born. Nastasi sourced from libraries, photo archives and artist families to create her “family album” of sorts, featuring tender moments between animal and man.

Many of the artist-cat duos featured in Nastasi’s book predate Internet culture’s feline obsession. Not that the author has a problem with the contemporary phenomenon. “I think it’s fantastic,” she said. “Internet culture’s cat obsession has helped bring attention to various animal rescue organizations and special-needs animals that might have been previously ignored. Animal celebs like Lil BUB and Grumpy Cat help spread awareness about adoption and spaying/neutering, and have donated to various charities.”

For more on Agnès Varda and her cat Zgougou, Henri Matisse and his Minouche and Coussi, or Patti Smith and her furry guardian, check out Artists and Their Cats in its entirety. Meanwhile, here’s a preview of the compilation.

  • Georgia O’Keeffe and her cat. Photograph by John Candelario. Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), 165660.
  • Henri Matisse and his cat. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos.
  • Edward Gorey and his cat. Photo by Eleanor Garvey; used by permission.
  • John Cage and his cat. Courtesy of the John Cage Trust.
  • Wanda Gag and her cat. World Telegram & Sun photo by Roger Higgins; image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
  • Florence Henri and her cat. Courtesy Archive Florence Henri/Martini & Ronchetti, Genoa.
  • Agnes Varda and her cat. Photograph by Didier Doussin; used by permission.
  • Arthur Rackham and his cats. Image courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University.
  • Claude Cahun and her cat. Photo courtesy of the Jersey Heritage Museum.
  • Philip Burne Jones and his cat. Photo by Bain News Service, no date listed; image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
  • World Telegram & Sun photo by Roger Higgins; image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Love Ever After – Portraits of Couples Who’ve Been Together Over 50 years

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Love Ever After – Portraits of Couples Who’ve Been Together Over 50 years

  • Posted 13 months ago by Jack Lowe · Art & Design · 117727 Views

LIFE MAGAZINE-1936-2000

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LIFE
Cover of the June 19, 1944 issue of LIFE with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. The issue contained 10 frames by Robert Capa of the Normandy invasion.
Editor-in-chief Edward Kramer Thompson
Categories News
Frequency Weekly (1936–1972)
Monthly (1978–2000)
Publisher Henry Luce
Total circulation
(1937)
1,000,000
First issue November 23, 1936
Final issue May 2000
Company Time Inc.
Country United States
Based in New York City
Language English
Website http://www.life.com
ISSN 0024-3019

On his 100th birthday, LIFE remembers Joe DiMaggio with photos made in 1939, when the Yankee Clipper was a 24-year-old star

When the first issue of LIFE magazine appeared on the news-stands, the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression and the world was headed toward war in Europe.Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Partyhad taken power in Germany. In Spain, General Francisco Franco’s army was at the gates of Madrid to suppress the rebellion; German Luftwaffe pilots and bomber crews, calling themselves the Condor Legion, were honing their skills as Franco’s air arm. Italy under Fascist leader Benito Mussolini annexed Ethiopia.

Luce ignored these tense world affairs when he unveiled the new LIFE: the first issue cover[6] depicted the Fort Peck Dam in Montana, a Works Progress Administration project, photographed by Margaret Bourke-White.

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19 West 31st Street

The format of LIFE in 1936 was an instant classic: the text was condensed into captions for 50 pages of photographs. The magazine was printed on heavily coated paper and cost readers only a dime. The magazine’s circulation sky-rocketed beyond the company’s predictions, going from 380,000 copies of the first issue to more than one million a week four months later.[7]The magazine’s success stimulated many imitators, such as Look, which was founded a year later in 1937 and ran until 1971.

Luce moved LIFE into its own building at 19 West 31st Street, a Beaux-Arts architecture jewel built in 1894. It is considered a building of “outstanding significance” by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission. Later LIFE moved its editorial offices to 9 Rockefeller Plaza.

(worth $2 today) featured five pages of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photographs.

JACKSON DAY DINNER

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https://www.google.com/search?q=life+magazine&rlz=1CAACAC_enUS602US602&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=wpmYVJujCs_hsAT9jYKIAg&ved=0CFIQ7Ak&biw=683&bih=227

 

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Walter Sanders—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

1941 | Kappa Sigma Epsilon fraternity members toss blankets out the window of their house in preparation for a spring “blanket party” under the stars at Kansas State Teacher’s College. Originally published in the May 26, 1941, issue of LIFE.

Read more: Kappa Sigma Epsilon | LIFE.com http://life.time.com/history/the-best-of-life-37-years-in-pictures/attachment/1941_00816175/#ixzz3MfaM7Xk0

 

Rows of WACS after having put on their g|

Row upon row of WACs (Women’s Army Corps members) don gas masks for a training drill at Iowa’s Fort Des Moines. Originally published in the September 7, 1942, issue of LIFE.

Photos Of Train-Hopping Youths Will Open Your Eyes To A Rarely Seen Subculture In America

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JOHNNY CASH- ABOUT RIDIN’ THE RAILS-THE GREAT AMERICAN STORY

http://youtu.be/KNPUZixJA-s

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Photos Of Train-Hopping Youths Will Open Your Eyes To A Rarely Seen Subculture In America

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When he was 18 years old, self-taught photographer Mike Brodie decided to leave his home in Arizona and travel across the country for 4 years, hopping from train to train. Along his travels, he met numerous people riding the rails (like himself at the time) and vagabonds whose lifestyles, though unorthodox, are incredibly interesting to view through his lens.

This time in Brodie’s life documents a subculture of youths who have opted to lead a life of poverty with the promise of adventure. Altogether, the images reveal an unusual balance of struggles and freedom. Thought Brodie no longer practices photography nor ever really considered himself a real photographer, a collection of his work has been published in a book titled A Period of Juvenile Prosperity.

To learn more about Brodie and his work, be sure to check out his website.

BEATNIK HIWAY-TIMES SQUARE N.Y.C.

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THE HISTORY OF TIMES SQUARE

Humanity Not at its Best, or Worst – but

at its Most

Times Square is the intersection of spectators and performers, tourists and locals; all the diversity of the city, the country, and the world interacting. Times Square accommodates many activities both planned and spontaneous, and connects streetscapes, underground passages, and penthouses. Finally there are the layers of history that lie under the streets and behind the facades of theaters, diners and stores. The density and the congestion are part of what is authentic to a place where art, life and commerce quite literally collide.

Much of what constitutes modern American culture has been invented and reinvented, tested, and displayed in the few blocks that make up the Times Square district. This is where Americans devise new ways to entertain themselves. By 1928, some 264 shows were produced in 76 theaters in Times Square. These theaters showcased not old-world opera, but the new popular culture born of America’s immigrant stew – vaudeville and musicals, jazz and the movies. Today it remains the busiest theater district in the world, and is also home to MTV, ABC, B.B. Kings, Hard Rock Cafe, Best Buy Theater, and Madame Tussaud’s.

The most popular spectacles of Times Square have always been free – the dazzling electrical signs that gave Broadway its reputation as “The Great White Way.” Over the course of the past hundred years, Times Square has become an outdoor laboratory for new ways to communicate and advertise.

Times Square is also where American news was made. It was here that writers like Walter Winchell and Damon Runyon perfected their punchy reporting style, the gossip column, and the use of slang, that redefined what news was – how it was to be written and reported, and what counted. Now ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Reuters, Viacom, Condé Naste, and of course the New York Times are all here.

Prostitution and sex theaters defined the area for much of the post-World War II era. In a larger sense, Times Square was a place where boundaries could be pushed, and broken, and desire expressed. It is no accident that, in Times Square, women could challenge the rules of dating, and gays and lesbians could find a greater level of freedom than they found elsewhere in the city.

Times Square blossomed in the first third of the twentieth century, only to slide into notorious decay in the face of the post-1945 world of television, suburbs, and racial strife. Times Square has returned in the past two decades. The crowds that first made the place have also returned, contributing to the unique mix of creativity and commerce, energy and edge that makes Times Square both an international icon and a universe in miniature, reflecting the obsessions, desires and priorities of a changing world.

Paul McCartney Pops Up in Times Square

The star plays four songs from his ‘New’ album at unannounced New York performance

Paul McCartney
Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Paul McCartney performs songs from his new album “New” at Times Square in New York City on October 10th, 2013.

BY | October 10, 2013

Just 24 hours after playing a surprise show at a Queens high school auditorium, Paul McCartney gave another impromptu performance in New York’s Times Square today, delighting tourists and Midtown workers with four songs from his upcoming album New (due out next week).

McCartney alerted his fans around noon with a tweet: “Wow! Really excited to be playing New York Times Square at 1pm this afternoon!” By 12:45, a sizeable crowd had already gathered at Broadway and West 46th Street, where a large truck was parked blocking pedestrian traffic. Many of them were there to see McCartney, but more than a few could be heard asking what, exactly, was about to happen.

A few minutes after 1:00 p.m., McCartney and his band pulled up in a caravan of yellow taxicabs. The star emerged to huge cheers and climbed up into the truck – where a curtain had by now been pulled away to reveal a bare-bones stage, set up with instruments. “OK, we’re just going to do a few songs from my new album,” McCartney said as he took a seat at his multicolored piano. “Ready?”

Read All About ‘New’ and 25 More of This Fall’s Most Exciting Albums

A sea of cameras, phones and iPads followed McCartney as he began to sing the album’s lead single, “New,” smiling bright enough to make everyone forget the gray afternoon weather. “Well, this is something, isn’t it?” he said when it was done. “Let’s stay here all day!”

McCartney switched to his Hofner bass for “Save Us,” a fast-paced number that recalled Wings at their most rocking. Album promotion is a chore for some artists, but not for McCartney, who looked like there was nowhere else he’d rather be. “I’ll be putting a little hat out here later,” he joked. “We’re basically busking.”

His wife, Nancy Shevell, could be seen off to the side of the crowd dancing to the next song, “Everybody Out There” – a jangly anthem with McCartney on acoustic guitar. “There but for the grace of God go you / and I,” he sang. “Do some good before we say goodbye . . .” By song’s end, he’d broken into his trademark Little Richard howl.

“We’ve just been told we’ve only got one more,” McCartney said. “We’ve only got 15 minutes!” The crowd booed heartily, but he was in a goodnatured mood. “Mr. Andy Warhol predicted I’d get 15 minutes of fame,” he added with a grin. “This is it.”

With that, he returned to his piano and launched into one last song from the new LP: “Queenie Eye,” a psychedelic pub singalong. The song featured a sly wink to Beatles superfans: At one point, McCartney sang, “O-U-T spells ‘out’!” – just like on “Christmas Time (Is Here Again),” a fan-club exclusive recorded by the Beatles in 1967 and first released to the wider public as the B-side to 1994’s “Free As a Bird.”

And then, alas, it was time to go. “See you next time!” McCartney said brightly as he vanished back into the Manhattan crowd.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/paul-mccartney-pops-up-in-times-square-20131010#ixzz39ijThPVf
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

HOW TIMES SQUARE WORKS

Adam Clark Estes

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When we stepped out onto the roof, the wind whipped me sideways, and it took me a second to get my bearings. I was nine stories above Times Square, staring at the back of its biggest LED sign, and it was thrilling.

Of course, standing on a dirty rooftop shouting over the cacophony of Midtown Manhattan is not thrilling in and of itself. I was with an engineer from D3 LED, one of the leading digital display manufacturers in the world, who was explaining to me how the sign worked. Gizmodo’s photo savant Michael Hession was wandering around, shutter snapping, and I was staring down into the guts of the 100-foot-wide LED display. As the engineer explained how the modular LED panels could be swapped out in seconds and the entire display switched with just a few key strokes, I straightened up.

“So you’re saying it’s just one big huge computer?” I asked.

He thought for a second and then nodded, “Pretty much.”

How Times Square Works

This is the back of the largest continuous surface LED display in Times Square. The blinking green lights mean that everything is working!

New York City’s Biggest Gadget

Times Square is one big, busy machine. Powered by American ingenuity and more than a few megawatts of electricity, these six square blocks stay bright 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You’ve seen Times Square in movies and on TV a million times. A lot of you have probably seen it in real life, teeming with chaos and glowing with capitalism. But how exactly does all that work? The shops and restaurants are one thing, but what exactly makes Times Square such a functional, perpetual spectacle?

That’s a complicated question. Obviously there are the workers themselves. Times Square supports some 385,000 jobs, a little over half of which are in that bright sliver of Midtown, while the other half are strewn across the country supporting Times Square operations from designing the content on the signs to keeping the power plants that power them on line. All together, they help generate about 11 percent of New York City’s economic output, or about $110 billion annually, according to the latest figures. These are the men and women who man the ticket booths, who sell the T-shirts, who clean the hotel rooms, and who keep everyone safe. And since about 350,000 pedestrians pass through Times Square on an average day—that number jumps to 460,000 on the busiest days—that’s no small task.

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We actually got to climb inside the sign that sits on top of the Double Tree hotel. It was as precarious and scary as it looks.

But then there’s the technology. Times Square is home to countless billboards, many of which are now digital, that make up some of the most expensive advertising real estate in the world. These signs are so central to the area’s identity that there’s actually a zoning code that requires all buildings on that stretch of Broadway to have at least one illuminated sign of a certain size. And while the buildings themselves aren’t too different than those found throughout the rest of Manhattan, Times Square does have that big ball.

Put simply, Times Square works thanks to a productive marriage of labor and technology. And what better manifestation of these two things than those countless billboards that turn night into day in the middle of Manhattan? They bring in tourists. They drive up real estate prices. They fuel innovation in media and advertising in a manner unlike any other place on Earth. Put simply: Times Square works as long as those signs are shining.

It Wasn’t Always Like This

Times Square was still considered countryside when John Jacob Astor started buying up real estate in the first half of the 19th century. By the beginning of the 20th century, the area—then known as Longacre Square—had been considerably built up, having become home to The New York Times as well as a subway stop (in that order). On April 9, 1904, the paper announced the new moniker with a bold headline: “Times Square Is the Name of City’s New Centre.” Three years later, in 1907, Times owner Adoph S. Ochs lowered an illuminated ball down a pole on the roof of One Times Square in the last minute of the year, a tradition that endures today. It was, arguably, the first electrified advertisement in Times Square.

A few decades later, Times Square had become the center of New York’s sin city. The theater district that had made the area an entertainment hub was eclipsed by the seedy strips of sex shops and adult cinemas. This, along with an ever-growing crime problem, is part of why the Timescalled the area around its former home “the ‘worst’ in town” by 1960. The slide into seediness continued through the 1970s and 1980s, eventually slowing with the election of Rudy Giuliani and an aggressive push to boost security and encourage tourists. That eventually meant those porn theaters had to close.

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“Seedy” is almost too gentle a word to describe Times Square in the 1980s.

Times Square was properly “Disneyfied” by the mid-1990s. While it’s widely believed that aggressive urban planning caused the rebirth of Times Square, the former head of New York’s Urban Development Corporation says that’s not quite right. “The changes in Times Square occurred despite government, not because of it,” wrote William J. Stern a few years ago. “Times Square succeeded for reasons that had little to do with our building and condemnation schemes and everything to do with government policy that allowed the market to do its work, the way development occurs every day nationwide.”

What better beacon of progress than a bunch of blinking—and eventually glowing—billboards. By the 2000s, Times Square had been transformed into a sort of shrine to capitalism, with mansion-sized signs beaming down onto pedestrian walkways that steered out-of-towners into chain stores and scared locals into staying downtown.

Times Square is safer than it’s ever been, safe enough to slurp a bowl of gumbo at Bubba Gump Shrimp well past midnight and then stroll onto brightly lit sidewalks without fear of getting mugged. Businesses are clearly thriving, and even the empty pedestrian walkways turn a tiny profit. It wasn’t just real estate developers, or extra security, or even Guy Fieri that transformed Times Square into the well oiled machine it is today. It was the millions of LEDs.

How LEDs Killed the Billboard

The thing about the signs in Times Square is that they never stay the same. Like the rest of America, the place is constantly reinventing itself through various innovations and a perpetual quest to grow bigger and become greater. So in the late 1990s, as LED technology was finally becoming affordable, Times Square became a testing ground for a revolutionary approach to display advertising.

D3 LED managing partner Meric Adriansen was one of the mad scientists in charge. Actually, he’s an engineer who was working in Disney’s fabled research arm before he got recruited to help design a new kind of sign for ABC in 1998. The network was preparing to move the fledgling Good Morning America franchise from Lincoln Center for Times Square, and it wanted a bright, splashy sign to announce the show’s presence to every passerby. The vision was to create a ribbon of sorts that wrapped around the corner of the the new Times Square Studios at the corner of West 44th Street and Broadway, where they could broadcast breaking news and the like. It was not an easy place to put an interactive display, especially with the state of technology at the time.

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While the ribbon-like bands of LEDs panels looks like an obvious hardware challenge, writing the software that keeps everything in sync was the really difficult part.

Meric found a way to make it work. The challenge wasn’t so much getting the displays to curve. That was the easy part. The hard part was keeping the image on the screen in sync as it traveled across an uneven surface at various speeds.

The solution was smarter software. Using a series of morphing algorithms, Meric managed to program the display to move at varying speeds, so slightly out of sync that it looked completely in sync to the people on the sidewalk. The effect was spectacular, and Meric quickly realized that everybody in Times Square would want to one-up ABC with their own dancing LED creations. So he went into business.

Turning Times Square Into a Video Show

When you walk into Times Square today, there are no fewer than 55 giant-sized LED displays blinking and begging you to look at them. (It’s hard to keep count because new ones are going up all the time; D3 alone operates 27 of them at present.) That’s just a fraction of the 230-odd total billboards sprinkled throughout the Square.

The most prominent sign is certainly the skyscraper-high Walgreens display that D3 recently installed on both sides of One Times Square.Developers figured out that they could make more money selling advertising real estate on the outside than maintaining an office building inside, so they kicked out all the tenants and started basically minting money. That’s right. The former home of The New York Times is now just one big billboard, with companies like Toshiba, Sony, and Budweiser on display. Now the bright beacon of industry looks less like a sliver of Gilded Age grandeur, as it did when it was built in 1903, and more like the set ofBladerunner. In total, there are a staggering 17,000-square-feet of signage on the skinny old building.

How Times Square Works

On the left is the (still pretty new) One Times Square building in 1919. On the right is the (now completely empty) One Times Square building in 2012 as seen from the same vantage point.

The Walgreens sign is clearly a source of pride for D3, and it should be. It’s very impressive! When I first met Meric on an unusually cold early spring day earlier this year, he pulled out all of the plans to show me how all of the display’s 12 million LEDs were arranged so that the sign looked uniform to tourists passing by on the sidewalk, who remain the primary demographic for Times Square display advertising. He explained that the LEDs were denser on the bottom for higher resolution and spread out a bit towards the top. I still can’t see the difference.

“Content is king,” Meric kept saying. The signs, he explained, only looked as good as the images you displayed on them. And much to my surprise, they were just basic video files, run off of hard drives that were stored in any of D3’s facilities sprinkled throughout Times Square in buildings where the company either owns real estate or operates signs.

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It’s hard to tell from photographs just how towering the Walgreens sign at One Times Square is, but it is. The diagonal slash is 30-stories tall, in fact.

Like Lego for Lights

At this point, you’re probably wondering exactly how these LED creations work. The answer is actually very simple. Each large LED display is actually an array of smaller LED displays that are connected to each other both physically and virtually.

The Walgreens sign is D3’s largest installation, with 29 separate displays that are lit with 16 miles of electrical cables and held together with half a million nuts and bolts. But the images themselves start out as regular old Adobe After Effects files that are then rendered into video. Clients need to supply D3 with just a single video file to get their dynamic ads in front of the 100-million-odd pedestrians who pass through the square annually. Well, that and a ton of money. An NYU study last year found that it costs a stunning $368,291,070 a year in water, electricity and green house gas emissions to run Times Square.

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D3’s modular sign at the Quicksilver store in Times Square is one of the more creative uses of the LED module technology, with multiple displays forming a mosaic of moving images.

While the Walgreens sign looks impossibly vivid compared to its neighbors, it will fade over time, just like its painted and vinyl ancestors. LED technology is certainly much better than it used to be, but it’s still not invincible. An individual LED works by sending electricity through a semiconductor, or diode, but over time, heat causes the wires to degrade and the light to fade. The signs in Times Square, Meric told me—which stay on 24 hours a day, seven days a week—typically have a lifespan of about 10 years.

As the D3 technician told me, the LED displays are effectively giant computers. In fact, each of the individual modules is equipped with its own processor that coordinates with the rest of the modules to create one huge seamless image. The whole thing is internet-connected, too, so it can be controlled remotely. Meric told me that he gets push notifications on his phone if a sign has a problem, and no matter where he is in the world, he can troubleshoot on the fly.

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The LED modules come in several different sizes and resolutions. The pixels on modules for outdoor signs are spaced between 10 and 24 millimeters apart, while they’re usually six millimeters apart on indoor displays.

The modules also each have their own MAC address, which makes it easy for technicians to identify exactly where the problems are. This is a big improvement over the old incandescent signs that required daily checks to see if any bulbs had burnt out. While Times Square was certainly impressive back when it was coated in incandescent light, the introduction of LED technology not only transformed the types of content that could be displayed, it made maintenance so easier which encouraged more people to build the futuristic-looking displays. Dynamic billboards used to be a thing of science fiction. Now it’s the de facto standard, thanks to LEDs.

Of course, no technology is perfect. Errors don’t happen often, but when they do, fixing them is sort of a cinch. As if they were big electronic Lego bricks, the broken modules can simply be swapped out for functional ones, and they’re good to go.

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The modules (pictured from behind here) are completely, well, modular and can be swapped out in a matter of seconds.

The software that runs the whole system is also smart enough to route around problems whenever possible so that the whole sign doesn’t go down like a string of Christmas lights with a bad bulb. Meanwhile, the video files are all stored on hard drives in control rooms around Times Square, and D3 keeps backups on hand. While each sign has its own controller and control system, many of them have dedicated real estate where the hardware can live. In total, D3 operates 35 separate control rooms in Times Square.

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All of the control panels and server towers are custom built for D3. On the right, above, you can see the hard drives displaying previews of the live content.

Obviously, security is an issue when you’re running several dozen giant, internet-connected displays in one of the most conspicuous places on Earth. “It’s a sobering thought that you’re always vulnerable,” Meric said. “If there’s anything that keeps me up at night, it’s the security aspect.”

As such, D3 follows very rigorous protocol to ensure that the whole system doesn’t get hacked. That includes routing signals through VPNs and running intrusion detection systems at all times. And if someone wanted to physically break into one of the control rooms, they’d have a damned hard time finding them. When I visited, we walked through the bowels of some pretty nondescript buildings, ducking under pipes and climbing over ventilation ducts to find a tiny unmarked door with a bunch of servers inside. It felt like a game of hide-and-seek.

The Spectacle of Darkness

It’s not until you gaze at the backside of the largest LED display in Times Square that you can finally get a sense of perspective. First of all, these things are huge. That particular sign spans over 100 feet and weighs a whopping 82,000 pounds. It’s filled with five million LEDs that produce a resolution thats four times denser than standard definition.

While LED signs are a relatively new addition to Times Square, they’re becoming more and more popular. They’re also getting better. While the resolution of existing signs is good, the technology is starting to get great. Some of the latest D3 creations almost look like high definition displays from afar, despite the fact that the individual pixels are spaced a few millimeters apart.

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An up-close look at the modules reveals how much black space is between each pixel, but you can’t even tell when looking at the displays from the ground.

As smart companies tend to do, D3 is constantly looking ahead and trying to predict the next big innovation. Believe it or not, they think it’s 3D displays. The technology isn’t quite there to support glasses-free 3D images that passers by would enjoy, but Meric and friends built the this particular LED sign with 3D in mind, though they don’t currently display any 3D content. This basically means that they’ve built in enough resolution and back end support that 3D could be possible with the right content. It’s outfitted with 16 state-of-the-art SSD hard drives and enough processing power to handle 5 gigabytes per second of data. (3D video requires a lot of data.) The sign is also capable of playing video at 120 frames per second, so it looks smooth as can be. Oh, and it can handle live video, too.

All of this inevitably requires a lot of electricity. New York’s main utility company, ConEd, estimates that it takes at least 161 Megawatts at any given time to keep Times Square and the surrounding theater district glowing. A large chunk of that power goes to the signs themselves. That’s enough juice to light 161,000 American homes, and twice the amount of electricity required to power all of the casinos in Las Vegas.

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While the Earth Hour event makes the majority of the signs in Times Square go dark, there’s always a light on somewhere in New York City.

You almost never see Times Square go dark, and when it does, it’s quite a spectacle. It’s also a great way to make a statement about our bad energy habits. Earlier this year, (most of) the square went dark from 8:30pm to 9:30pm in observance of Earth Hour, organized by the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness about energy use and conservation. One Times Square has participated in the protest (of sorts) for five years now, and Jamestown, the company that manages the building, has vowed to reduceits carbon footprint by 20 percent before 2020. Others have made similar efforts, and one of the signs in Times Square is even powered completely by solar panels.

The Crossroads of the World

Times Square is obviously a busy place, and again, it’s an impossibly complex piece of technology in its own right. But before bright lights and the stores and the stupid naked cowboy, it was a gathering spot, not just for Americans but for people from all over the world. That’s why people call it the Crossroads of the World.

How Times Square WorksEXPAND

Some call this bombastic little spot, America’s Town Square. There’s even stadium seating.

While the signs don’t tell the whole story, they exist as living proof that Times Square is evolving machine, always on and always adapting to whatever the future brings. Companies like D3 make up a multimillion dollar industry that revolves simply around these ever-changing displays, a business so curiously impactful that some tourists come to New York City just to see the signs.

Perhaps most profoundly, however, is the fact that the signs stand as tribute to the unabashed glory that is American ingenuity. A hundred years ago, Times Square was just a little piece of real estate halfway into the relative countryside that was Uptown back then. A visionary newspaper owner, careful urban planning, even more careful urban renewal efforts, millions of visitors, and of course, some pretty awesome signs have now helped Times Square become one of the most iconic places on Earth.

And if you really think about it, without all those signs, Times Square would be just another messy Manhattan intersection.

Top image by Jim Cooke, photo via stockelements / Shutterstock.com

Photos by Michael Hession / Wikipedia / AP

COOL PEOPLE -Classy People From The Past Who Remind Us What “Cool” Really Means!

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#50 Classy People From The Past Who Remind Us What “Cool” Really Means!

Jake Heppner
Our society has come a long way in the past few decades but we’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to be classy. Let’s take a lesson from these masters of “old school cool.”

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6 time Golden Globe winner #Paul Newman boating in #Venice during a film festival (1963)

Elspeth Beard, shortly after becoming first Englishwoman to circumnavigate the world by motorcycle. The journey took 3 years and covered 48,000 miles.

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#Marlon Brando’s screen test in “Rebel Without A Cause” (1955).

An old family photo from the early 1900s

A young boy stealing the show, back when middle school kids knew how to dance (1950)

Cosmos host and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson at a college wrestling match

#Clint Eastwood with actresses Olive Sturgess and Dani Crayne in San Francisco, 1954

A young #Sean Connery relaxing on the couch

#Caroline Kennedy walks ahead while her father, the most powerful man in the world, carries her doll. (1960)

Teenagers and their first car (1950s)

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre #Trudeau and his cabinet – 1968. These men knew how to wear a suit.

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#Diana Rigg (Olenna Tyrell from Game of Thrones) in 1967

#Sophia Loren, one of the only actresses to win an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe awards.

A famous quote of hers: “Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.”

#Ellen O’Neal, the greatest woman freestyle skateboarder in the 1970s.

Three boys pose for a camera on the streets of #Jamaica

#Queen Elizabeth and #Prince Phillip at the horse races #(1968)

#Paul McCartney and #Mick Jagger sit opposite each other on a train to Bangor. (1967)

A salesman has his motorized roller skates refueled at a gas station (1961)

#Brigitte Bardot visits #Pablo Picasso at his studio near #Cannes in 1956

A couple dancing in a 1950’s “#Be Bop” theater as everyone looks on.

#Jimi Hendrix backstage at #Monterey Pop Festival, 1967

#Ernest Hemingway’s striking passport photo (1923)

The people we aspired to be decades ago are much different than the celebrities we look up to today. The values of our past have nearly vanished, but I’m hoping that if everyone sees this, they might be convinced to get back to our roots. Please share and remind everyone what “cool” used to be like!

AndrBov

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