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No longer just a concrete jungle where dreams are made of — Times Square roars to life as a new augmented reality exhibition brings the great outdoors to the Crossroads of the World in a virtual summer safari.
Until the end of August, visitors can download the Concrete Jungle app to catch lifelike giraffes, elephants, jaguars and other animals that aren’t pigeons and rats as they frolic amid the skyscrapers of Midtown, courtesy of One Times Square developer Jamestown.
Using geospatial localization technology, the app will not only feature user-responsive, interactive movements from the man-made menagerie but also virtual games with quest badges, a 3D puzzle and the ability to capture in-app photos with a virtual animal companion (definitely the safest way to take a selfie with a lion!). Concrete Jungle “rangers” will be on hand between W43rd and W47th Streets between Broadway and 7th Avenue to guide adventurers through the installation.
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Concrete Jungle is the first augmented reality project from the developer, with plans to build out further virtual experiences at One Times Square and across their portfolio. “Augmented reality is the future of entertainment, retail, advertising, and the built environment more broadly,” said Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown in a press release.
“Concrete Jungle will scale and normalize augmented reality experiences as a tool to enhance engagement with the public. These technologies can be leveraged beyond entertainment to improve wayfinding, public safety, and health and wellness. Jamestown is at the forefront of creating that bridge by investing in technology to create experiences that will transition the physical to digital life in the future,” he added.
“We continue to welcome over 400,000 New Yorkers and tourists every day to Times Square, reaching pre-pandemic levels, and are thrilled to welcome the Concrete Jungle as the newest virtual experience that combines the latest in technology and innovation to the Crossroads of the World,” said Tom Harris, President of the Times Square Alliance. “One Times Square is a historic property as the site of the iconic New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, and we look forward to welcoming the virtual safari experience that will be one of many new and exciting opportunities to experience the best of Times Square.”
One Times Square — undergoing renovations for the next two years — is slated to become its own center for retail-focused augmented reality and virtual tourism. Current plans for the 118-year old historic building that once housed the New York Times and an iconic Midtown Walgreens include a 12-floor branded AR-VR experience as well as a new viewing deck for the New Year’s Eve Ball and an interactive museum detailing the building’s storied history. Until then, you’ll have to catch the digitally rendered tigers outside. Maybe they’ll chase away the Naked Cowboy!