Town squares attract tourists all over the world. Recently, in Prague, the Old Town Square was filled with tourists, locals, restaurants, and food stalls, surrounded by beautiful churches and museums. In Budapest, St. Stephen’s Square was a hub of action, leading to many other pedestrian only squares and streets, a well laid out plan for locals and tourists alike.
But the two big squares, in my opinion, not necessarily the best, but certainly among the brightest and most famous, are surprisingly Moscow’s Red Square, and venerable New York City’s Times Square. And they both seem an accurate reflection of the countries they represent.
Red Square looks like downtown Disney now, with the lights of the GUM Department Store, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin (and Lenin’s Tomb), and squared by the Kazan Cathedral. It is very difficult now to envision May Day in Moscow with troops and tanks parading through the Square.
Times Square, on the other hand, is the epitome of glitz and glamour, some say sleaze too! Yes, Midtown Manhattan, also known as “The Crossroads of the World”, cannot help but get anyone energized by the city that doesn’t sleep. Located at Broadway and Seventh Avenue, it is really more pie shaped, than square. But this is where the action is. Loaded with places to eat, shows to see, resident wierdos, and people to watch, the adrenalin rush is contagious.
While one may represent the epitome of capitalism, the other, Red Square, is not far behind with GUM Department Store, the Harrod’s of Russia. It is a shopping mecca on par with any single store in the U.S. But I felt safer in Red Square than in Times Square. Figure that?
So, tell me, what is your favorite square? St. Taffy’s, Union Square, Trafalgar Square, Tiananmen Square, Old Town Square (Prague), or the Zocalo (Mexico City)?