Organized by the Times Square Alliance, "Design Times Square" celebrates the quality of design found in the heart of Manhattan (which includes the Broadway theatre district). A jury of architects, designers and planners will decide upon selected sites from the area.
Among 44 sites — including office buildings, public areas, churches, restaurants and theatres — 26 will be nominated "that exemplify first-rate design in the world's most fashionable neighborhood," according to materials. The honorees are placed into four categories for public voting — Public Space and Art, Interiors, Signage and Architecture. Finalists will be announced in September.
Seven of the selected designs in the area that encompasses the Broadway theatre district were, of course, theatres—including Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre, St. James Theatre, Biltmore Theatre and Hilton Center for the Arts as well as Dodger Stages, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (home to Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre) and Hudson Theatre. The Hirschfeld Theatre's marquee and the Chicago "Razzle Dazzle" billboard (on 46th Street and Broadway) were also chosen.
The 2004 inaugural "Design Times Square" contest, honoring the Times Square centennial, include both new and old designs. This year, the focus is on excellence in more recently-created quality design.
Last year's nominees included the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Richard Rodgers Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, Shubert Theatre and New Amsterdam Theatre as well as Second Stage Theater, New 42nd Street Studios and the New Victory Theatre. The latter, "New York's oldest active theatre," was one of three winners most voted upon by more than 3,000 people (from 47 states and 23 foreign countries between August and Dec. 31, 2004), according to the website. Voters have until Dec. 31, 2005 to chose their favorite designs at the website (www.timessquarenyc.org/design). As an incentive to choose this year's best, the Alliance will reward completed ballots the chance special prizes including dinner, a show and a stay at the W Times Square hotel.
"We hope that this program will lead people, especially those who care about design, to look at Times Square with fresh eyes," said Times Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins in a previous statement.
A virtual tour of the "Design Times Square" selected sites are viewable at www.timessquarenyc.org/design.