Times Square Visitors Center opens on B'way

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NEW YORK -- The Times Square Visitors Center opened on the site of the historic Embassy Theatre at 1560 Broadway, between 46th and 47th streets.

Billed as the city's first one-stop-shopping visitor center, it features a variety of services to help tourists make sense of all the changes taking place in Times Square and in the city. Visitors can use ATMs, exchange currency, buy Broadway tickets, book sightseeing tours, purchase MetroCards and access a video history of Times Square.

The center also offers Internet surfing on six computers, enabling homesick tourists to e-mail friends and relatives back home and send digital postcards. There's also a shop selling official New York souvenirs.

The 6,000-square-foot center, which opened Sept. 1, is the focal point of a $1.1 million restoration of the former Embassy, built in 1925 as an opulent moviehouse.

The restoration of the theater and the creation of the visitors center "is the perfect example of building the new Times Square on the roots of the old," said Gretchen Dykstra, president of the Times Square Business Improvement District (BID), which operates the center.

The Times Square BID estimates that 20 million tourists visit Times Square annually and spend $3.5 billion in the area.

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