Each year for the past 30 years, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New York District personnel ensure the Times Square Recruiting Station an iconic symbol of U.S. Armed Forces recruitment in the heart of New York City and one of the oldest in the U.S. is protected from people gathering there for holiday celebrations. (While COVID-19 precluded crowds for the annual ‘ball drop’ from the Times Tower skyscraper marking the new year, hundreds of thousands of people pass through the area daily.
Re-Opening After New Year’s
On January 2, personnel from the District’s Physical Support Branch, Plant Maintenance Unit, based at the Army Corps’ Caven Point Marine Terminal in Jersey City, New Jersey, arrived at Times Square to ‘unbutton’ the station by removing stainless-steel security panels and making repairs (workers installed the security panels prior to New Year’s.
Richard Thorsen, chief of the District’s Physical Support Branch, Operations Division, said: “Each year District employees make sure this property is not damaged as glass panels around the structure must be protected for safety reasons. In years past, events have left behind containers and glass bottles, posing a hazard to glass around the building.”
Recruiting all Branches
The station recruits for the four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. New York District’s Real Estate Division, that provides administrative support to more than 550 recruiting stations in New York and New Jersey owns and operates the structure located over a subway line. It was the one of the nation's first joint armed forces recruiting station.
Background & History
Constructed in 1945 to serve as the U.S. Armed Forces’ only one-stop recruiting center, it’s just one of 3,500 recruiting stations located throughout the country.
Although just 670 sq. ft., it’s the busiest recruiting station in the United States. After 75 years and many upgrades, the station no longer resembles “the booth,” as it once was called. The most observable upgrade is LED monitors enabling it to blend with the glitz of high-wattage marquees surrounding it.
Renovations. Over the years, the station has had a number of upgrades, spearheaded by the New York District.
In 2017, fire alarms and electrical systems were replaced, the roof was upgraded to facilitate drainage of water accumulating after storms, and new flooring and subflooring installed. These upgrades helped modernize the building, providing a better venue for interviews and discussions with individuals considering joining the military.
To mark the occasion, a contingent of joint armed forces recruiting commands joined the New York District for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included recruits from each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces being sworn in. They joined a proud tradition of 250,000 volunteers who join the armed forces each year.
Additional upgrades in 2011 included replacement and installation of illuminated energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LED) outlining American Flags on both sides of the center, matching the bright lights and gleam of Times Square proper.
In 2006, the Municipal Art Society of New York City, a nonprofit advocating smart urban design, city planning and landmark preservation, designated the structure as one of 30 buildings built in the past 30 years deemed worthy of landmark status. Every day, the station serves as an office for military recruiters to interview applicants and eventually enlist the future members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The building is synonymous with iconic celebrations ending World War II, and sailors, airmen and Marines watching the ball drop on New Year's Eve.