Archive for 04/25/2012

Verdi Square a Small Wonder of New York

Verdi Square Just Down the Street from Shimmie Horn's Belleclaire Hotel

Visit Verdi Square and experience a bit of New York City history at the intersection of Broadway, Amsterdam Avenue and West 73rd Street, just down the street from Shimmie Horn’s Hotel Belleclaire.

New York City Parks and Recreation acquired the spot in 1887, but did not designate a permanent name until 1921. The area was a favorite place to build villas during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and at the turn of the century the square was a meeting place for musicians. Enrico Caruso and Arturo Toscanini were known to frequent the square.

Verdi Square was bestowed with the status of Scenic Landmark in 1974 by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Only eight other public parks have been so designated. In 1997 the monument was restored using monies from the Broadway/72nd Associates.

Stroll a few blocks downtown from the Belleclaire and visit one of the small wonders of New York City.

Great Times in Times Square

Times Square

Have you ever wondered why Times Square is such an iconic symbol of New York? How it came to be known as “The Crossroads of the World” and the “Great White Way?” Perhaps we can shed some light on at least a little bit of why this simple intersection of Broadway, Seventh Avenue and 42nd Streets in Manhattan has taken on the role of New York’s heart and soul.

Today Times Square draws more than 39 million visitors each year, making it one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections and one of the most visited tourist attractions anywhere. Visitors are drawn to the theater district which surrounds the area, which is also a major world center for the entertainment industry.

Before 1904 the intersection was called Longacre Square, but was renamed Times Square when the New York Times moved its headquarters to the brand new Times Building, whose address is One Times Square. This special piece of real estate is the site of the world-renowned ball drop of New Year’s Eve, which heralds the New Year for many across the world.

Times Square was not always as pedestrian and visitor friendly as it is today. During the 1910s and 20s the area came to be known as the “Tenderloin” District because it was considered one of the most desirable of New York’s residential neighborhoods. But during the Great Depression of the 30s the area came to be known as dangerous, and during the decades that followed Times Square continued a downward spiral and was no longer considered a decent place to go. From the 60s to the 90s Times Square became a sad symbol of the overall decline of the former pre-eminence of New York as a world cultural center.

Recovery began in earnest in the mid-1990s when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (1994-2002) began an all-out effort to bring the area back to its former glory. Included in those efforts was improving the neighborhood’s security, pushing out drug dealers and other undesirable elements from the area, opening more attractions geared to tourists, and adding more ‘upscale’ establishments.

If you are staying at Shimmie Horn’s Iroquois Hotel then you are in a perfect place to check out exciting, inviting and sparkling Times Square, just a few blocks away at 49 West 44th Street.

Great Green Times at Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park Playground and Garden

If you are looking for an oasis of green, calm and gorgeous flowers in the midst of the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan, well then just wander on over to Madison Square Park.
This large and well-groomed park is located between Fifth and Madison Avenues and East 23rd and 26th Streets, and is filled to the brim with activities and things to see. There are monuments, fountains, buildings of note, reflecting pools and even a ‘roadside’ food stand which was designed specifically to blend in to the park’s surroundings.
The space which Madison Square Park occupies was used as a public space as early as 1686. Almost 200 years later, in 1847, Madison Square Park, named for the country’s fourth president opened as a formal, dedicated public park. During the late 19th century this park was the fulcrum of one of New York’s most fashionable and affluent residential areas, including some of the city’s most elegant hotels.
Right now Madison Square Park is at the heart of a newly revitalized business district, surrounded by office buildings, hotels and residences. The newly renovated park has stimulated additional residential real estate development which in turn helps to bring in a new generation of youthful park users.
Some of the highlights of the park are:
•    Flower Gardens
•    Children’s Award-Winning Playground
•    Free Wi-Fi through NYCwireless
•    Jemmy’s Dog Run, named one of New York’s best dog runs by CBS News
•    Shake Shack: high-quality food in an ivy-covered ‘green’ building
If you are staying as a guest  at the Shimmie Horn’s Hotel Chandler at 12 East 31st Street, you won’t regret taking the short walk over to Madison Square Park and enjoying one of the places that make New York a special place to be.