The numbers heading to Times Square: 2-0-2-4


Good day. It's Monday. We'll see what happens behind the scenes in Times Square before the ball drops on New Year's Eve. We will also learn about free online therapy for teenagers.

It's countdown time for the countdown. There is a lot to do before everyone looks at the thin building in Times Square and shouts “10-9-8-7…”

  • Next year's numbers (two giant 2s, a 0 and a 4) are scheduled to arrive Wednesday after traveling across the country on a trailer, towed by an electric sport utility vehicle. They left Inglewood, California, at the beginning of the month.

  • A confetti test on Dec. 29 will send 75 pounds of colorful streamers into the air. This is a fortieth of the ton and a half that more than 100 volunteers will throw by hand on New Year's Eve. They don't use confetti cannons.

What about One Times Square, the building that serves as the stage for the ball drop?

“This is going to be a New Year's Eve in the making,” said Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown, the real estate firm that has owned One Times Square since 1997.

Jamestown recently held a topping-out ceremony for its $500 million reinvention of One Times Square, which will add immersive, technology-driven screens to a building that took shape when the Wright Brothers had just flown their plane and air conditioning had run out. to be installed. made up.

“The victories and losses of our lives have counted against this building,” Phillips said, mentioning the parades and VJ Day at the end of World War II. “All the technology that's being implemented in this building just amplifies that.”

The renovation is part of a plan the company announced in 2022 to make the building a showcase for what Phillips called “Times Square 4.0” and make Times Square a “global multimedia destination.” Last month, Jamestown installed a countdown sign at One Times Square that measures 50 feet, 3 inches tall, about the height of a five-story building.

As construction progresses, the neighborhood could get one of the few things it doesn't yet have: a casino. SL Green, the city's largest commercial landlord, wants to obtain a gaming license in partnership with Caesars Entertainment. But not everyone agrees.

Crowds in Times Square are larger than they were a year ago, although tourism remains less robust than before the pandemic. The Times Square Alliance, a coalition that promotes the neighborhood, said hotels in Times Square averaged 89 percent occupancy from July to September, about five percentage points below the level of 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.

At $283 a night, the average daily rate for a Times Square hotel room was 13 percent higher from July to September than in the same period in 2019.

The alliance said that figure lagged comparable figures for Manhattan as a whole: $334 per night, up 20 percent from the third quarter of 2019.

Another figure suggests that consumers are spending more freely now. They loaded $212 million on their Visa cards at businesses in Times Square from July to September, according to Visa data provided by the alliance. That was 17 percent more than the same three months in 2019.


A storm moving through the region will bring heavy rain in the morning. The rains will decrease in the afternoon. Temperatures will be around 50 degrees during the day and 30 degrees at night.


Suspended due to bad weather.

New York City offers free online mental health therapy to teens. But many members of the city's mental health care community worry that the new program is a modest gesture in a time of crisis.

Some also question why the city has signed a $26 million contract with for-profit provider Talkspace when the company is the target of a class-action lawsuit filed by a former customer.

My colleagues Ellen Barry and Christina Caron write that about 1,400 teens, or less than 1 percent of the more than 400,000 eligible teens, have enrolled in the month since the NYC Teenspace therapy program began. Teens can exchange unlimited messages with an assigned therapist once a parent or legal guardian has signed a consent form. The program also offers a 30-minute virtual therapy session once a month.

Dr. Ashwin Vasan, New York City's health commissioner, acknowledged that the city was “taking a risk” by adopting teletherapy on such a large scale. But he added that “the cost of inaction is much greater.”

“What we wanted to do was create the easiest democratized, barrier-free access to aid that we could,” he said.

Dr. Zachary Blumkin, senior clinical director of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center School of Psychiatry Practice Organization, praised the spirit behind the initiative. But he said he had seen no evidence that a monthly therapy session and the exchange of text messages would provide substantial benefit for mentally ill teens.

“One concern is that this could be kind of a Band-Aid on a festering wound, and that could make things worse,” he said.


Dear Diary:

Although my parents were New Yorkers, I grew up in a small town outside of Cleveland, where my parents moved in 1969.

After graduating from college and then touring North America for a year with two friends, I ended up spending the scorching summer of 1988 with my grandmother in a tenement in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx.

I loved the way the disparate group of tenants participated in each other's lives in small ways each day. Two of my favorite residents were older sisters who lived nine floors above my grandmother. Regardless of when I met them, they seemed to have had a few cocktails.

One Saturday morning, I picked up the phone and heard one of the sisters formally introduce herself and ask if she could come help with a small favor.

When I knocked on their door, it opened to reveal the sisters side by side. One quickly turned around and headed for the freezer. He opened it, took out a small package wrapped in aluminum foil, and turned to me.

He said his budgie Crackers had died a few weeks earlier. Would he be willing to bury the beloved bird outside the building?

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