2. Camel Cigarettes

Camel Cigarette sign
Photo by John Vachon, from Library of Congress

Times Square is covered in flashy signs, but few are as memorable as the Camel cigarettes billboard, which was installed in 1941. To create the illusion of a man blowing smoke rings, a machine was placed behind the sign that pushed steam out of a hole every four seconds.

Installed on the exterior of the Claridge Hotel, the 30-foot by 100-foot billboard was a signature fixture of Times Square from 1941 to 1966. During WWII, the featured man was depicted as a soldier, sailor and airman.