Where exactly is Times Square? It’s complicated.

Good morning. Is Thursday. Today we will look at Times Square: what are its limits and why that question has suddenly become important. We will also see tennis, New York City style, as it is played on public courts.

For many New Yorkers and tourists alike, Times Square evokes a hub of bustling street life that stretches north from 42nd Street and Broadway for many blocks.

But exactly how many blocks? And what are the real limits of Times Square anyway?

For many, its parameters are sensory. Can you see the flashing billboards? Smell those hot dog vendors? Are you frantically defending yourself from furry costumed characters pestering you for handouts?

So you’re still in Times Square.

But city officials have now codified what they call formal district boundaries, in accordance with a new state law that prohibits people who legally carry firearms from bringing them into Times Square and other popular tourist destinations.

The new map, promoted by the mayor’s office, the Police Department and the City Council, assigns fairly generous parameters for Times Square: a wide swath that covers roughly three dozen blocks from Ninth to Sixth Avenue and from 40th Street. West to 53rd Street.

It includes the Port Authority terminal and extends near Rockefeller Center.

My colleagues Jonah Bromwich and Chelsia Rose Marcius spoke with New Yorkers to find out their own notion of the limits of Times Square and to see if they agreed with the newly formulated expansive limits.

While working the counter of a deli on West 48th Street and Ninth Avenue on Tuesday, Adam Alkindi adamantly stated that the deli was definitely not in Times Square.

“No way,” said Alkindi, 21, who grew up just a block away. “It’s peaceful around here.”

As Alkindi said: “Where there are a lot of people, where there are a lot of big shops and lights. That’s Times Square.

Another New Yorker, Robert Govan, 62, admitted the boundary could possibly go as far north as West 52nd Street, but as for the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Govan said he would never consider it part of Times Square.

“Nope. No way,” she said. “It’s not going to happen.”

For some New Yorkers, the limits may seem flexible. Felecia Majette, 62, whose office is on West 49th Street and Sixth Avenue, said she viewed that part of Midtown Manhattan as an extension of Times Square.

“There is movement from here to there,” he said. “It’s all combined.”

Majette said she approved of the new limits. The last thing she wanted, she said, was “a bunch of people around here with guns, even if they’re allowed to have one.”

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The new gun law regarding Times Square and other districts is in response to a legal change that came in June, when the US Supreme Court struck down a century-old New York law that had placed strict limits on carrying gun crowd.

With the new rules set to go into effect, lines have formed outside permit offices across New York state, including the Niagara County Courthouse, where 150 people were lining up Wednesday morning. Nearly 100 had camped out overnight.

In Oswego County, the permitting office has hired two full-time employees to meet demand. And a firearms permit expert in Suffolk County has received as many as 50 phone calls a day from potential applicants.

In New York City, there has been a 54 percent increase in license applications since June.

In response to the change in federal law, New York State passed legislation designating places where people would be prohibited from carrying weapons. These include government buildings, places of worship, health care providers, libraries, playgrounds, public parks, the subway, and Times Square.

The new city map is larger than the boundaries set by the Times Square Alliance, which sees Times Square as covering most of the territory from West 40th Street to 53rd Street between Sixth and Eighth Avenues, as well as Restaurant Row on West 46th Street west of Ninth.

“Everyone has a different idea of ​​where Times Square is,” alliance president Tom Harris told me on Wednesday. “There are 365,000 people a day walking through Times Square, and the NYPD does an excellent job of keeping those people safe.”


Enjoy a sunny day near the mid-80s. The afternoon is clear, with temperatures dropping to the mid-60s.


Good through Monday (Labor Day).

The US Open, played in Queens, is a showcase for elite athletes competing at the highest level.

But outside of the National Tennis Center, there are hundreds of New York City public courts featuring their own form of spirited competition and colorful characters.

In some, the most competitive part of the game is simply trying to get an hour of court time.

In Central Park and in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park, players line up around dawn only to sign up for an hour of play later that day.

At Hudson River Park, just north of Canal Street, there are three pristine playing surfaces with sweeping river views and wait times so long players sit on numbered benches to play on the next available court.

The first thing they ask is, ‘Can I get your cell phone number?’” said Bernard Lewis, the court clerk at the clay courts in Riverside Park, near West 96th Street.

“There were people trying to bring me coffee and pastries; a guy owned a cake shop and he tried to bring me cakes,” she said. “But once you accept something, it belongs to you.”

There are courts in the Bronx and parts of Queens that remain largely empty, though there are some parents who bring children in the hope that they will become the next Venus or Serena Williams.

One of those parents was Ronald Ewool, an African immigrant who coaches his two teenage daughters, Alicia, 13, and Deborah, 12, on the courts at Crotona Park in the Bronx.

He was one of many people I met while reporting on a story last month about a tight-knit community of black players in Brooklyn who are part of a rich black tennis culture on the city’s public courts.

Frederick Johnson Park in Harlem, long known as “the jungle” for its competitive climate, once attracted top African-American players, including Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, and remains popular with black players. John McEnroe has been known to personally seek out players there for his underserved youth training program.

Naomi Osaka, who won the US Open in 2018 and 2020, played tennis as a child at Detective Keith L. Williams Park in Queens and helped finance the renovation of the courts last year.

Of course, there can also be a competitive disadvantage to training on city courts, said Steven Turner, 75, who grew up in Greenwich Village and went from playing in Central Park to playing on the pro tour against Stan Smith, Rod Laver and Ilie Nastase in the 1970s.

“Going from public city courts to world-class tennis is almost impossible,” said Turner, who played in the US Open when it was still played at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, Queens. “Because New Yorkers are always trying to butt in and supposedly help him with advice from him, it messes up his game.”


Dear Diary:

I was exiting the Union Square subway station when I saw a young woman who appeared to be in her 20s running angrily toward a well-dressed older woman about 100 feet away.

The younger woman was causing quite a commotion, and the people at the station were looking on with a mixture of concern and curiosity.

By the time she reached the older woman, she was breathless.

“Excuse me,” she said excitedly, “but where did you get those shoes?”

—Kiho Cha

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