Ruthie’s New Year’s Eve

The One Big Happy from 12/30/18:


Ruthie has heard that huge numbers of people gather in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. But why is it called Times Square? Obviously ’cause that’s where you go to tell time — where the clock stores are.

The scene in Times Square on a New Year’s Eve:


A less crowded overview, featuring two buildings with clocks on them:

(#3) In the center, One Times Square, with a digital clock; on the right, the Paramount Building, with an elaborate analog clock

On the first, from Wikipedia:

One Times Square, also known as 1475 Broadway, the New York Times Building, the New York Times Tower, or simply as the Times Tower, is a 25-story, 363-foot-high (111 m) skyscraper, designed by Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz, located at 42nd Street and Broadway in New York City.

The tower was originally built to serve as the headquarters of The New York Times, which officially moved into the tower in January 1905. Eight years later, the paper moved to a new building, 229 West 43rd Street. Even after the Times left, One Times Square remained a major focal point of Times Square due to its annual New Year’s Eve “ball drop” festivities, and the introduction of an electronic news ticker at street-level in 1928.

Following its sale to Lehman Brothers in 1995, One Times Square was re-purposed with advertising billboards on its facade to take advantage of its prime location within the square. Most of the building’s interior remains vacant (aside from its only major tenant, a Walgreens pharmacy which occupies its lower levels, although plans were announced in 2017 to build a new Times Square museum and observatory in part of the vacant space), while its exterior features a large number of traditional and electronic billboards. Due to the large amount of revenue generated by its ads, One Times Square is considered one of the most valuable advertising locations in the world.

But why is the New York Times (the newspaper) called that? Well, it got its name from The Times of London — which presumably took this name because it reports on the events of the times. From Wikipedia:

The Times is a British daily (Monday to Saturday) national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times (founded in 1821) are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.

The Times is the first newspaper to have borne that name, lending it to numerous other papers around the world, such as The Times of India and The New York Times. In countries where these other titles are popular, the newspaper is often referred to as The London Times or The Times of London, although the newspaper is of national scope and distribution.

The Paramount Building. Back to Times Square in NYC. And the Paramount Building, from Wally Gobetz’s Flickr page:


Famed theatre architects Rapp & Rapp designed the dramatically massed skyscraper in 1926 at a cost of $13.5M as offices for Paramount Pictures, as a home for the Paramount Theater (since demolished) and as an advertisement for the Paramount Corporation. The building, at its completion the tallest structure on Broadway north of the Woolworth Building (33 stories), sits on the site of the previous Putnam Building, erected to commemorate the spot where Revolutionary War hero General Israel Putnam met General George Washington.

The motion picture company’s trademark mountain encircled by five pointed stars is echoed in the fourteen setbacks creating a “para”mountain massing and its surmounting four faced clock, on which the hours are marked by five pointed stars. The setback below the clock faces is flanked by three-story scrolls, making the whole look like a gigantic desk clock. The clock is crowned by a glass glove that, when illuminated, is visible for miles. The globe and clock were painted black at the outset of World War II to maintain blackout conditions for fear of enemy invasion. The Globe and Clock tower were restored in 1996.

With its 3600-seat theater and fabulous Marquee and Arch, the Paramount introduced the likes of Gary Cooper, William Powell, Mae West, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and Claudette Colbert, through silent films and talkes to New York. Its stage was graced regularly by Benny Goodman, Jack Benny, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin to name a few. In the 1950’s, the Theater became home to the Alan Freed Rock and Roll stage show. In 1956, Elvis Presley’s first movie, Love Me Tender, premiered here.

In 1964 the Paramount closed its doors. The theater space was converted to offices, the marquee was  removed and the arch in-filled.

The clocks and globe were restored in 1997. In 2000, the World Wrestling Federation began construction of their entertainment complex, renovating the interior for a restaurant, nightclub and retail store at a cost of $38M. In 2001 …  the original marquee and arch were restored returning the facade to its original grandeur. In 2004, Hard Rock Cafe purchased the Paramount Hotel for $126M and rebranded it the Hard Rock Hotel in 2007.

Meanwhile, the clock still ticks away the hours in the tower.

As far as I can tell, there is not currently a clock store in NYC’s Times Square. Sorry, Ruthie.

3 Responses to “Ruthie’s New Year’s Eve”

  1. chrishansenhome Says:

    The Times of London and Sunday Times are likely to ask the government to share some facilities in order to save money.

  2. John Baker Says:

    Very interesting. Arnold, FYI, this is actually from 2006. Old One Big Happy strips are re-run on

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Thanks, John. The mechanics of cartoon syndication are pretty much a mystery to me. I pays me money and the stuff materializes out of the air every so often.

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