Now Transmitting: Live DJs Take Over Times Square

Times Square Transmissions, a collaboration between Times Square Arts and The Lot Radio, brings live music to the heart of Manhattan throughout the month of May



People enjoy live music in Times Square thanks to Times Square Transmissions.


An 8-by-8-foot red box in the heart of Times Square will be the source of 12 hours of live music a day for the entire month of May.

The box, which is actually a refitted K67 kiosk, is currently serving as the hub for Brooklyn’s beloved independent radio station The Lot Radio, which typically streams 24/7 from a shipping container in Greenpoint. 

But until the end of May, the station’s group of DJs will be playing opposite Duffy Square’s iconic red bleachers from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. It’s a refreshing way to bring live music back to the streets of New York after what has been a grueling year for its residents and visitors alike.

The initiative, officially known as Times Square Transmissions 2021, is a collaboration between The Lot Radio and Times Square Arts. Transmissions’ first iteration came about a few years ago, when a repurposed money exchange bureau became The Lot’s home for a month in December 2018. On Saturday, however, the station’s owner and founder Francois Vaxelaire explained that he never expected Transmissions to make a return.

“I thought it was just going to be this one-off, crazy thing we did,” Vaxelaire said of the 2018 event. But when the opportunity arose for The Lot Radio to return to Times Square, he knew he couldn’t pass it up. 

Kicking off The Lot’s monthlong residency on Saturday morning were Barbie Bertisch and Paul Raffaele, who DJ together as Love Injection and create a monthly print fanzine under the same name. As passersby strolled through Times Square, the duo’s mix of dance music inspired more than a couple of people to move their feet. After a year that has seen Times Square sit nearly empty, it felt as if the city was finally coming back to life.

Contributing to that feeling were the many people who walked by with a free vaccine donut in hand thanks to the Krispy Kreme two blocks away. The presence of Spongebobs and Spidermans soliciting photos from tourists and Korean evangelists handing out Bibles helped to establish a sense of normalcy, too. The visual reminder of ongoing vaccination efforts paired with historical mainstays of Times Square brought about a sense of hope that New York will soon return to its typically lively self.

As the sun rose over the course of Love Injection’s two-hour set, those who were afraid to show off their dance moves instead took advantage of the plaza’s movable seats and tables, slowly shifting along with the sunlight like a group of basking cats. Crowds of people enjoying live music together provided a glimpse into what summer in New York City might look like as the city gears up to fully reopen in the coming weeks. Strolling around Duffy Square with his head bobbing subtly, Vaxelaire noted that the timing of Transmissions could not be better.

“We were excited to do it towards the end of the pandemic. It feels like a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I like the symbolism of that.”

The 2021 iteration of Times Square Transmissions can be experienced in person until the end of May, and it can also be streamed live on The Lot’s website.