When police in Austria stopped a late-night speed demon outside Linz recently, they quickly realized the situation was anything but routine - and not just because the car in question was clocked at 136 m.p.h. The speed limit: 80 m.p.h. Pavol Rusko was fined $935 on the spot and may lose his privilege to drive on Austrian roads if a traffic court should so decide. So, who's Pavol Rusko? He is the economics minister of Slovakia, the fourth-highest ranking member of that nation's cabinet.
Times Square, the high-wattage crossroads of New York, is never more in the world limelight than on New Year's Eve. And Friday night's celebration will carry extra significance, since it was 100 years ago that Adolph Ochs, the owner and publisher of the New York Times, persuaded the city to rename what had been Longacre Square following the newspaper's move into its new headquarters building. A New Year's Eve celebration that year attracted 200,000 people and culminated with a fireworks display. When the city banned such displays two years later, the ball-dropping countdown tradition began. Dick Clark, the longtime television host for the celebration, is ailing and will miss this year's countdown after 32 years on the job. Regis Philbin will take his place, but much else will be the same. To help ring in the New Year, some fun facts about the Times Square district:
People who pass through (daily) 1.7 mil.
Tourists (annually) 26 mil.
People who work in the square (daily) 274,000
Hotel rooms 13,200
New Year's Eve visitors 750,000
Largest crowd (for VJ Day, 1945) 2 mil.
Typical hotel room rate (per night) $200
Hotel room rate with view of square on Jan. 31 $1,200
Prime retail rent (per sq. ft.) $550
Portable public restrooms 0
- www.timesquarenyc.org and other sources