Card no. 21 - photos
The Great White Way makes its best impression after dark, when teenagers heading for the Virgin Megastore brush shoulders with theatergoers racing for an 8 P.M. curtain.
Begin at Broadway and West 50th Street (1 train to 50th Street).
If you've got small children in tow, hold them tight as you head south from West 50th Street, following the flashing neon past a series of forgettable emporiums toward the world-famous point, just above West 43rd Street, where Broadway slices across Seventh Avenue and continues its angled trajectory south. Any child over six will immediately announce that this is not a square at all, but, depending on how you slice it, either a triangle or an elongated X. On the narrow island that ends at West 42nd Street, in the middle of a fiercely churning river of taxis and jaywalking pedestrians, stands One Times Square, successor to the New York Times tower that gave the neighborhood its name when it was completed in 1904. A mirrors ball has dropped here every New Year's Eve since 1908. When you've had your fill of neon, turn right onto West 42nd Street, a once-steamy stretch now glowing with wholesome glitz: the restored New Victory Theater on the north side; Madame Tussaud's on the south; the Disney Store, just east of Broadway; theaters with long-running hits such as The Lion King; and movie houses once famous for porn releases that now show family fare. Serious theatergoers will want to continue west, to Theater Row between Ninth and Tenth Avenues off-Broadway. For dinner, try the West Bank Cafe (407 W. 42nd), a theater-crowd hangout and the best jazz spot in the neighborhood.
From City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot by Martha Fay