Launched in August 2022, Concrete Jungle transformed Times Square, New York into a virtual safari, creating the first large-scale AR experience of its kind, free and open to the public.
The virtual safari experience begins on the Concrete Jungle AR TimesSquare app, available on the App and Google Play stores. Visitors start their adventure at one of the five viewing zones along Broadway and 7th Avenue between 43rd and 47th Streets. Once the app is downloaded and opened, the augmented world comes alive around the visitor, enhancing the live environment with digital content.
Concrete Jungle is made up of five distinct animal worlds (Insects, Reptiles, Birds, Jungle, and Savanna) and can be experienced at the five viewing zones along the public plazas of Times Square. Against the bright billboards, skyscrapers, and concrete of NYC, visitors can marvel at supersized animals in their natural habitats, play interactive games, collect badges, take selfies with an AR animal companion, and learn fun facts along the way.
To complement the virtual experience, in-real-life Park Rangers were available throughout the month of August to help visitors embark on their digital safari. Park Rangers ran tours for school groups, provided limited edition Concrete Jungle AR swag, and engaged with the public to educate and normalize the use of AR technology.
Concrete Jungle is produced by One Times Square, the home of the New Year’s Eve Ball (and owned and managed by Jamestown), bringing a free, family-friendly program that combines the latest in technology and innovation to the Crossroads of the World. One Times Square is the southern anchor of Times Square and at the heart of the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Celebration. The building is currently under redevelopment to become a modern-day visitor center for NYC. The redevelopment will modernize the 118-year-old historic building.
The new One Times Square will include a 12-floor, branded AR-VR experience offering brands the added ability to connect with their customers in Times Square through immersive, technology-enabled activations. In addition to the AR/VR experiences, the redevelopment includes a new viewing deck offering a closer look at the New Year’s Eve Ball and an elevated view of Times Square, as well as an interactive museum that tells the story of the building, New Year’s Eve, and its place in the history of Times Square.
While under construction, the focus of the building’s experiences will continue to remain on the exterior of the building and in the metaverse. Concrete Jungle will enhance the entire bowtie area of Times Square with cinematic storytelling through AR. As tourism is on the rebound, NYC is poised to expect a major boost, making it the opportune time to launch a new activation. With a mix of skyscrapers, digital signs, public spaces, a 24-hour environment, and theater at its core, Times Square is uniquely positioned to host the first large-scale, outdoor AR experience. The area continues to welcome over 300,000 visitors and tourists to NYC everyday and Concrete Jungle provides a new reimagined way to experience the live environment.
The leading firms in technology, gaming, cloud, and creative came together to bring concrete jungle to life through best-in-class cinematics using Unity’s 3D artwork, geospatial localization, and the latest visual technology to raise the bar for live virtual experiences.
With the use of geospatial localization, the live virtual layer is responsive to the user’s movements and the time of day within the five viewing zones, making the experience available 24-hours of the day.
Concrete Jungle will continue to 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. One Times Square and Jamestown are 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.
The program was also in partnership with the Times Square Alliance, the local business improvement organization that works to keep the neighborhood clean, safe, and accessible. The Alliance supported this effort in bringing technology-based programming to the largest public platform and one of the world’s iconic urban places.
More information can be found here.