Project Description

HARD ROCK CAFE at 1501 BROADWAY | Times Square – New York City, New York

Display Collection
Controls System
Software Solution

Historic Accomplishment

Gracefully integrating new technology into a historic landmark is no small feat, but that was D3’s challenge at 1501 Broadway, a 33-story building in New York City’s bustling Times Square.

Years ago, D3 built the Hard Rock curved marquee, incorporating original architectural details to match the building’s aesthetic, a primary goal for historic preservation. More recently, D3 completed two new key elements — a second curvilinear marquee to complement the modernized 43rd Street entryway, plus a series of towering double-sided triangular blade displays.

The tenant entrance was previously located on Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets. However, the building’s owners wanted to take advantage of the pedestrian traffic and convert the lobby into retail space. The new tenant entrance was moved around the corner onto 43rd Street.

Paramount Theater, a premier movie palace, was the original occupant at 1501 Broadway. To honor this heritage, a representation of the 1927 marquee was installed above the Hard Rock entrance on Broadway.

Preserving Broadway’s Landmarks

More recently, D3 worked with a dedicated team of architects, designers, and builders to develop two exciting structures. We created a marquee for the new tenant entrance, and a towering series of 27-foot-tall double-sided triangular-blade displays. The goal was to integrate the new elements to complement the building’s original architecture, and to honor its status as a designated historical landmark in New York City.

The new tenant entrance marquee was to be a smaller version of the Hard Rock Cafe marquee. However, the marquee had been designed and built by hand, resulting in a custom product that was challenging to replicate.

This complex project involved several informational hurdles. Namely, the original Paramount Theater marquee no longer existed. There were no instruction manuals on how to put one together. Design and fabrication required considerable research and many educated guesses. The extended project team — architects, structural engineers, sign designers, sign builders, and a building project manager — worked closely together to ensure a seamless process, and a faithful representation of the original design.

Fact is, renovating historic landmark buildings is a stringent process involving multiple steps and many parties. For example, the architect’s design and product finish choices need to be approved by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Using the latest imaging technology, the marquee was digitized into a 3D model, and then scaled down for the tenant entrance marquee. Historical research and images of the Paramount Theater provided valuable references.

The new marquee was constructed and delivered to the site in one piece. In a remarkable feat, it was installed onto the building in one night. The blade displays were brought to the site fully populated with LED modules, and installed onto the building one at a time.

Once the marquee and blade displays were mounted onto the façade, the team continued at the site with finish work, including weatherproofing and decorative adornments, such as framing and trim.

Today as when the project was completed, building ownership remains delighted with the heightened influx of foot traffic coming from the new entrance, thanks in large part to the eye-popping displays outside that capture interest and the imagination.

The Specs: How We Did It

1501 Broadway Marquee

  • D3® XTECH® Dynamic LED Display XT6
  • Two side elevations: 96 x 288 pixels
  • One front elevation: 96 x 672 pixels
  • Triangular blades: D3® XVIEW® LED Display XV8
  • Seven double-sided displays: 1,040 x 200 pixels each

Hard Rock Cafe New York Marquee

  • D3® XVIEW® Dynamic LED Display XV8
  • Two side elevations: 160 x 440 pixels
  • One front elevation: 160 x 1,130 pixels

Control System and Software Solution