ESPN Zone New York - a hybrid space

written by henriette-langberg

ESPN ZONE New York is a sports bar in surprise, surprise New York City, and is as described on their website "located in the heart of Times Square on the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway.". I had the pleasure of visiting it in December 2008.

Times Square and the surrounding area is a breathtaking location illuminated by tons of neon lights and commercial screens with enormous numbers in lux.

Times Square, New York City

Here you will for instance find a McDonalds Restaurant with a facade looking like something, that would fit perfectly on The Strip in Las Vegas, and several gigantic information walls in bright impressive lights. Even the Police Station on Times Square tries to get your attention in this space with high density in information by having neon lights on their building.

NYPD in Times Square

In other words Times Square is a hybrid space, or an augmented space as Lev Manovich´s describes it:
”…spaces such as shopping or entertainment areas or other spaces where various information can be accessed wirelessly. The author calls such spaces ”augmented space”: the physical space overlaid with dynamically changing information, multimedia in form and localized for each user.” ( Lev Manovich, The poetics of augmented space, p 219)

Located like that, it is only natural that you inside the ESPN Zone sports bar will find some of the same spatial components as outside. It feels as if Times Square has moved through the bricks, concrete and window glass and into the bar, and almost morphed the square and bar into one hybrid space.

In the ESPN Zone you will find another information wall, a ginormous screen showing the main sports event of the night, results and scorings from other leagues and others live games in smaller windows on the screen.

Information wall in ESPN Zone New York City

And around the room are placed numerous smaller screens showing different sports events, so that you from every table is able to follow exactly the game(s) you want to. And you can follow Times Square in the background on the ”screens” made by the window frames.

Smaller screens showing sports and Times Square

Information and the availability is so important in this hybrid space that tv screens are placed even in the restrooms - who wants to miss a touchdown just because they cant wait to commercial breaks to pay nature a visit? - cool or what!

A girl´s gotta go when a girl´s gotta go!

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