Hershey's Chocolate World triples in size with new location in the heart of Times Square. U.S. Immigration Fund welcomes this addition, along with the NFL Experience, at the 701 Times Square project.
By Sue Gleiter Hershey's Chocolate World in New York City has relocated to a bigger venue in the heart of Times Square. A grand opening celebration will be held Dec. 14 at the 7,800 square-foot store at 701 7th Ave. next to the NFL Experience.  The new Chocolate World is three times the size of the original attraction, which had operated for about 15 years at 48th and Broadway. With more space, Hershey's New York has expanded its offerings. Tourists will encounter the Amazing Candy Machine where they can mix and match up to a dozen Hershey products. They also can personalize Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar wrappers to capture their Times Square memory, or "Say It With a Kiss" and select a digital message to display. Chocolate World also will sell made-to-order treats such as s'mores made with special "graham crackers that have a hint of smoky flavor and a full Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar." A new in-store bakery will give visitors the opportunity to purchase cookies and treats to take home. The space was constructed by Schimenti Construction Company which has built retail spaces for Target, Under Armour, Saks 5th, Gap and Sephora. In a press statement the company described Chocolate World as: "The interior of the space incorporates faux wood beams, developed with a foam product with a wood-grain finish, to create the feel of an old Hershey's manufacturing facility while maintaining a lower cost than wood. Schimenti also worked with Hershey-specific brand icons such as Kisses and Reese's logo floor tiles, automated dioramas, and a custom-built camper to facilitate Hershey's s'mores experience." Hershey also operates Chocolate World attractions in Las Vegas, Niagara Falls, Singapore, Dubai and Hershey. In 2016, it renovated its Hershey Chocolate World tour with cosmetic and technological upgrades.   The Times Square store is open 9 a.m.-midnight, daily.
Dec.1 | PR Newswire State-of-the-Art 4D Theater Brings Fans onto the Field with Motion Seats, Weather Elements, & More NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the NFL and Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group unveiled NFL Experience Times Square in the heart of New York City. The attraction, located on the corner of West 47thStreet and 7th Avenue at 20 Times Square, spans 40,000 square feet and four floors, bringing fans the most interactive and extensive football experience in the world. [caption id="attachment_24140" align="aligncenter" width="852"] National Football Commissioner Roger Goodell and Michael Strahan[/caption] NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL and Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN welcomed the NFL FLAG 13-14 BOYS AND GIRLS NEW YORK REGIONAL WINNERS to kick off NFL Experience's opening last night in Times Square. "We partnered with Cirque du Soleil to create a captivating and authentic football experience that enables fans to step into the locker room and onto the field of an NFL stadium," said GOODELL. "Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new to the game, NFL Experience Times Square takes you on an unforgettable journey where you enter as a fan, become a player, and leave as a Super Bowl champion." [caption id="attachment_24141" align="aligncenter" width="959"] National Football Commissioner Roger Goodell and NY Jets 13-14 Girls and Boys NFL FLAG Champions[/caption] Blending state-of-the-art technology with hands-on activities, NFL Experience transports visitors directly into the game for an interactive exploration of football, from the practice field to the Super Bowl. Fans can test their skills to see how they measure up to professional football players, learn game strategy from Coach JON GRUDEN, and experience the adrenaline-pumping action of the NFL in an immersive 4D movie theater. "NFL Experience Times Square is a next-generation entertainment attraction that will quickly join the list of unique, must-see New York Citydestinations," said NFL Experience President DANNY BOOCKVAR. "We are tremendously proud to open our doors and bring New Yorkers and those visiting from across the country – and the world – closer to the action than ever before." "Going through NFL Experience brought me back to the game and triggered the emotions that I cherished as a player," said STRAHAN. "As someone who spent 15 years in the League, I think the NFL Experience offers the most authentic look at the game outside of playing on Sundays." NFL Experience Times Square is Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group's first experiential sports venture, blending the company's extensive knowledge as a world-renowned live production company and the excitement of the NFL into one venue. "As we expand our entertainment offering beyond performing arts into immersive experiences, we are thrilled to partner with the world's leading sports brand. This project has not only allowed us to push our creative boundaries to showcase the NFL from a whole new perspective, but also open the fascinating world of professional sports to Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group," said DANIEL LAMARRE, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. NFL Experience brings football to life for visitors in unique ways, including:
  • The Stadium (4D Theater): The artistry of NFL Films combines with the thrill-ride of a rollercoaster in a 180-seat state-of-the-art theater featuring a 10-minute, thrilling show. Four-dimension special effects bring fans onto the field with the weather elements and aromas from NFL games, and motion seats recreate the movement from plays.
  • The 32's: Explore team traditions, fun facts, top plays, and even get a look inside home stadiums around the country – all available on displays throughout the exhibit. Fans will get to test their knowledge or vote for favorite players, and take a tour through all 32 teams with authentic club treasures on display.
  • The Equipment Room: Guests will enter the training grounds and measure their skills with a combination of digital and physical tracking activities. Blocking dummies will measure tackle strength and guests will see how their vertical jump compares to NFL players and friends. Finally, fans will get inspired by postgame speeches from NFL coaches and view gear worn by the stars themselves.
  • Suit Up: Guests will pick their team, select a jersey number, and suit up as a real player with the help of digital face-tracking technology, turning them into a computer-generated image of their favorite star.
  • Game Plan: Meet former NFL Coach Jon Gruden and get ready for the big game by learning a real NFL play: DICE RIGHT 61 BULLSEYE X INDIVIDUAL. This projection system gives guests the experience of virtually taking part in a quarterback meeting with Coach Gruden.
  • Huddle Up: An immersive point of view experience that puts fans inside the team huddle to call DICE RIGHT 61 BULLSEYE X INDIVIDUAL as taught by Coach Jon Gruden. Custom media monitors and interactive game play allow guests to be the quarterback, pick the receiver and run the play, earning the praise of the coach.
  • Quarterback Challenge: Guests will become the quarterback of their team and watch as their favorite receiver runs the play. In three attempts, they will pass the football to the receiver on screen and compare performance stats – such as speed and completion percentage – against their team's quarterback.
  • Super Bowl Celebration: Every year, one team feels the euphoria of standing on the field in a shower of confetti after winning the Super Bowl. An augmented reality experience will put guests amongst the winning team for the biggest NFL celebration. Fans will also experience the thrill of a virtual post-Super Bowl Gatorade dunk and take home a memorable photo capturing the fun.
  • Champions Stage: All the hard work, sweat and tears culminate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and guests will commemorate their triumph with a photo beside the iconic symbol. Additionally, guests can get an up-close look at every Super Bowl Championship ring, from the Green Bay Packers' Super Bowl I ring to the New England Patriots' Super Bowl LI ring containing 283 diamonds.
  • Postgame Tunnel: The closing postgame tunnel gives guests a one-of-a-kind perspective into the game from both the player and fan perspective with exclusive, never-before-seen footage.
  • Food and Beverage: The only place fans can eat through all 31 NFL stadiums. The space features a food court and bar overlooking Times Square, serving dishes specific to each stadium. Bringing in locally sourced ingredients from every NFL hometown and input from all 31 stadium head chefs, the rotating menu will change based on the big game of the week.
  • Special NFL Player Appearances: Hall of Famers, current players, and NFL Legends from around the league will make appearances and participate in fan experiences throughout the year.
Tickets to NFL Experience Times Square begin at $39 and can be purchased on-site or online at NFLExperience.com. About NFL Experience NFL Experience Times Square is a first-of-its-kind interactive and immersive attraction located in the heart of New York City that brings fans closer than ever to the National Football League and their favorite team. Combining immersive content, interactive displays, a state-of-the-art 4-D cinema and other multimedia effects, the experience takes visitors from the stands onto the field, transporting them from Kickoff through Playoffs, and ultimately, the Super Bowl. For more information about NFL Experience, please visit www.nflexperience.com. About Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group Originally composed of 20 street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group completely reinvented circus arts and went on to become a world leader in live entertainment. Established in Montreal, the Canadian organization has brought wonder and delight to over 180 million spectators with productions presented in close to 450 cities in 60 countries. Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group currently has over 4,000 employees, including 1,300 artists, from nearly 50 countries. Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group creates content for a broad range of audacious projects. On top of producing world-renowned shows, the organization has extended its creative approach to a large variety of entertainment forms such as multimedia productions, immersive experiences, theme parks and special events. Going beyond its various creations, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group aims to make a positive impact on people, communities and the planet with its most important tools: creativity and art. For more information about Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, please go to cdsentertainmentgroup.com. [caption id="attachment_24142" align="aligncenter" width="858"] Liev Schreiber attends the NFL Experience Times Square[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24143" align="aligncenter" width="856"] Julian Edelman attends the NFL Experience Times Square[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24144" align="aligncenter" width="858"] Julian Edelman attends the NFL Experience Times Square[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24145" align="aligncenter" width="859"] Kids attend the NFL Experience Times Square[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24146" align="aligncenter" width="863"] (L-R) Christopher Jackson, Roger Goodell, Keegan-Michael Key and Daniel Lamarre pose for a photo during the NFL Experience Times Square[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24147" align="aligncenter" width="858"] Commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell poses for a photo with the NY Jets 13-14 Girls and Boys NFL FLAG Champions during the NFL Experience Times Square[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24148" align="aligncenter" width="841"] National Football Commissioner Roger Goodell, Daniel Lamarre, Dawn Hudson, Danny Boockvar and Michael Strahan attend the NFL Experience Times Square[/caption] [caption id="attachment_24149" align="aligncenter" width="839"] Demario Davis and Matt Forte attend the NFL Experience Times Square[/caption]  
Nestled in the heart of the New York City sits the metropolitan hub's famed Times Square. Constantly in motion, the area sees an estimated 26 million people each year and offers an array of experiences designed to suit nearly every visitor. On Thursday, Times Square will add one more tourist attraction to its portfolio — the NFL Experience. The attraction is a partnership between Cirque du Soleil, which produces and operates the attraction, and the NFL, which co-created the immersive elements. The project is an exemplar of the growing experiential retail trend, a pattern brought on by the advent of e-commerce that has left fewer shoppers visiting brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers, finding themselves at a crossroads, have turned to more hands-on ways to attract more customers. Simply put, retailers are betting the experience, rather than the physical commodities a consumer can purchase, are what will drive individuals to stores. Though the NFL Experience is what may ultimately lure people to this new attraction, onsite retail, food and beverage vendors also stand to benefit from the attraction's foot traffic. But before the experience could get off the ground, Boston-based Shawmut Design & Construction had to figure out how to produce and work with previously unfamiliar technical elements — and how to do so in the middle of New York City. Randy Shelly, Shawmut's vice president of hospitality, says the firm ultimately won the project not only because of its experience and skill sets, but because of its familiarity with the nuances of building in Times Square, one of the nation's most challenging construction environments. Logistically, the project required significant up-front planning and clear communication with the 42-story New York EDITION hotel base building. "All of the authorities having jurisdiction, including the NYC Department of Buildings and New York Fire Department, have enabled us, for the most part, to execute with limited disruption," Shelly said. Inconveniences such as redirecting pedestrians, closing lanes and sidewalks and deliveries were planned well in advance. In all, it took 12 weeks of careful planning before construction even started. The 38,000-square-foot attraction is housed in a 39-story, mixed-use high-rise. It includes a 188-seat, 4-D movie theater with motion-capable seats and weather effects that simulate NFL experiences from the athlete's standpoint. The space also hosts interactive exhibits and simulated training drills, including running back and tackle challenges and a touchdown dance photo op that can be televised on a 2,120-square-foot digital display in Times Square. The project's success required immense coordination between all teams, including vendors, subcontractors and the base building landlord. "Communicating early and often was key to keeping everyone on the same page while delivering on the most sophisticated and technologically challenging elements," Shelly says. "Creating a framework for easy collaboration made it possible for the collective teams to respond to unforeseen changes. It all comes back to communication." Along with constant emails and phone calls, Shawmut conducted weekly in-person coordination meetings with vendors from pre-construction through completion to encourage collaboration and keep the information flowing freely. The firm also adopted Procore, a cloud-based construction management software. "We knew additional support would be critical in meeting the needs of this complex project," Shelly said. Shelly explains that the project's uniqueness lies in its theatrical elements and interactive vendor coordination. Because those elements were so involved, they each presented distinct challenges.  
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, 8:27 a.m. NEW YORK — The NFL is taking its game to Times Square. Literally. NFL Experience will open to the public in the mecca of Manhattan on Friday, one day after a grand opening that Commissioner Roger Goodell and assorted football celebrities and Hall of Famers will attend. While this Experience is patterned after the exhibits the league has done for years at the Super Bowl and draft, it has a new and different feel thanks to a partnership with Cirque du Soleil. “Cirque du Soleil has been involved with our team on things and with the Super Bowl,” says Dawn Hudson, the league's chief marketing officer. “We wanted to not just do an experience like anything else, but to have creativity and imagination and to really think about the things we would do. We thought about the power of what we know about the NFL and to try to reimagine that with a company that looks at the world in a totally different way could create magic for the fan.” A $30 million project that has taken 2 12 years in development, the Experience has something for kids, teens, and adults, mixing high tech and traditional displays into an immersive attraction. Want to read about and see clips from your favorite franchise, or view memorabilia? There's a room for that, whether through tablets or visual displays. Want to virtually dress up in full uniform and equipment like a player from your team? Do drills as if you were a draft prospect at the NFL combine? Take a history lesson of football — sort of an NFL101 — or create a touchdown celebration dance? Go ahead, there's a place for all of that, too. Visitors can act the part of coach and quarterback with the help of Jon Gruden as he calls and diagrams a play (Dice Right 61 Bullseye X Individual), then allows fans to run the play on a video screen. Displays of all the Super Bowl rings and tickets and the Lombardi Trophy are on hand. A replication of an equipment room and the underneath areas of a stadium is part of the four-floor tour, which takes anywhere from one hour to 90 minutes, depending on lines, though there will be timed entries. But there's plenty to do even while waiting for something else to do. “We look at this as Disneyland meets the Hall of Fame in Times Square,” says Danny Boockvar, president of NFL Experience Times Square. The centerpiece certainly will be a 4D film that has Cirque du Soleil's touch — artistically and in reality. It's Cirque du Soleil's first experiential venture. Before watching the film in the Experience's Stadium, there's even a warning for people who are prone to motion sickness to beware, although the seats in the theater are adjustable to limit the amount of jerking around a viewer takes. Doubt they have those out on the field for the players. The movie by NFL Films pretty much covers every aspect of how a player prepares, feels and what he, well, experiences when running for touchdowns, being sacked, or winning a championship. It's as fast-paced as a Tyreek Hill sprint, as powerful as a Von Miller tackle, as memorable as a Drew Brees touch pass. It even comes with a weather surprise. “Part of the trick is make sure to appeal to kids who are 8 and adults who are 80, to the hardcore fan and the novice, and the people from overseas,” Hudson says, noting that 20 percent of foot traffic in Times Square is from Europe. Visitors can finish off the visit in a dining area featuring favored items from the 32 NFL teams. The New York item being highlighted recently was a reuben sandwich. The NFL Experience is one of several sites opening near Times Square this year that are a striking departure from the unique local attractions: Broadway theater; world-class museums; world-famous landmarks such as the Empire State Building, along with authentic neighborhoods, shops and eateries. New York isn't known for its Southern food or country music, but the Grand Ole Opry is opening a venue soon promising “the best of Nashville food and entertainment in Times Square.” National Geographic Encounter opened in October with an “immersive” experience using high-tech visuals and soundscapes. “I would say the primary thought was not a movement to enhance Times Square,” Hudson says. “People want things that are high-sensory experiences they can do with friends and they can talk and share, and that don't take a huge amount of time. “We considered other places and cities. We knew we needed to have an area with a lot of visitors and fans, an area that would require heavy foot traffic. New York is the home of the NFL, it has two teams, and so many or our other teams are not so far away. This is five blocks from our headquarters. Our people can be here every day and make sure everything is authentic.”