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Times Square is a major intersection in Manhattanmarker, a borough of New York Citymarker, at the junction of Broadwaymarker and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42ndmarker to West 47th Street. The Times Square area consists of the blocks between Sixth and Eighth Avenuesmarker from east to west, and West 40th and West 53rdmarker Streets from south to north, making up the western part of the commercial area of Midtown Manhattan.

Formerly named Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed after the Times Building (now One Times Squaremarker) in April 1904. Times Square, sometimes known as the "Crossroads of the World," has achieved the status of an iconic world landmark and has become a symbol of New York City. Times Square is principally defined by its spectaculars, animated, digital advertisements.

The intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street, at the south-east corner of Times Square, is the Eastern Terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across the United States of Americamarker.

History

Broadway at 42nd St in 1880.
Before and after the American Revolution, the area belonged to John Morin Scott, a general of the New York militia where he served under George Washington. Scott's Manor House was at what is now 43rd Street, surrounded by countryside used for farming and breeding horses. In the first half of the 19th century it became one of the prized possessions of John Jacob Astor, who made a second fortune selling off lots to hotels and other real estate concerns as the city rapidly spread uptown.

Hotel Astor
In 1904, New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs moved the newspaper's operations to a new skyscraper on 42nd Street in Longacre Square. Ochs persuaded Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr. to construct a subway stationmarker there, and the area was renamed "Times Square" on April 8, 1904. Just three weeks later, the first electrified advertisement appeared on the side of a bank at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway.

The New York Times, according to Nolan, moved to more spacious offices across Broadway in 1913. The old Times Building was later named the Allied Chemical Building. Now known simply as One Times Squaremarker, it is famed for the Times Square Ball drop on its roof every New Year's Eve.

Also in 1913, the Lincoln Highway Association, headed by entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher, chose the intersection of 42nd Street and Broadway, at the southeast corner of Times Square, to be the Eastern Terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across America, which originally spanned coast-to-coast through 13 states to its Western Terminus in Lincoln Parkmarker in San Francisco, Californiamarker.

As the growth in New York City continued, Times Square quickly became a cultural hub full of theaters, music halls, and upscale hotels.
Crowd awaits news of a 1921 prizefight


 Celebrities such as Irving Berlin, Fred Astaire, and Charlie Chaplin were closely associated with Times Square in the 1910s and 1920s. During this period, the area was nicknamed The Tenderloinmarker because it was supposedly the most desirable location in Manhattanmarker. However, it was during this period that the area was besieged by crime and corruption, in the form of gambling and prostitution; one case that garnered huge attention was the arrest and subsequent execution of police officer Charles Becker.


The general atmosphere changed with the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Times Square acquired a reputation as a dangerous neighborhood in the following decades. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the seediness of the area, especially its adult businesses, became an infamous symbol of the city's decline.

In the 1980s, a commercial building boom began in the western parts of the Midtown as part of a long-term development plan developed under Mayor Ed Koch and David Dinkins. In the mid-1990s, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (1994–2002) led an effort to "clean up" the area, increasing security, driving out pornographic theatres, drug dealers and "squeegee men", and opening more tourist-friendly attractions and upscale establishments. Advocates of the remodeling claim that the neighborhood is safer and cleaner. Detractors, on the other hand, argue that the changes have diluted or "Disneyfied" the character of Times Square and have unfairly targeted lower income New Yorkers from nearby neighborhoods such as Hell's Kitchenmarker.

In 1990, the state of New York took possession of six of the nine historic theatres on 42nd Street, and the New 42nd Street nonprofit organization was appointed to oversee their restoration and maintenance. The theatres were renovated for Broadway shows, converted for commercial purposes, or demolished.

New Year's Eve

The southern end of Times Square, New Year's Eve, December 31, 2007.
Times Square is the site of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop. On December 31, 1907, a ball signifying New Year's Day was first dropped at Times Square, and the Square has held the main New Year's celebration in New York City ever since. On that night, hundreds of thousands of people congregate to watch the Waterford crystal ball being lowered on a pole atop the building (though not to the street, as is a common misconception), marking the new year. It replaced a lavish fireworks display from the top of the building that was held from 1904 to 1906, only to be outlawed by city officials.. Beginning in 1908, and for more than eighty years thereafter, Times Square sign maker Artkraft Strauss was responsible for the ball-lowering. During World War II, a minute of silence, followed by a recording of church bells pealing, replaced the ball drop because of wartime blackout restrictions. Today, Countdown Entertainment and One Times Square handle the New Year's Eve event in conjunction with the Times Square Alliance.
new energy-efficient LED ball, celebrating the centennial of the ball drop, debuted for the arrival of 2008. The newest ball, which was dropped on New Year's Eve (Wednesday, December 31, 2008) for the arrival of 2009, is larger and will become a permanent installation as a year-round attraction, being used for celebrations such as Valentine's Day and Halloween.On average, about 1 million revelers crowd Times Square for the New Year's Eve celebrations. However, for the millennium celebration on December 31, 1999, published reports stated approximately two million people overflowed Times Square, flowing from 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue and all the way back on Broadway and Seventh Avenues to 59th Street, making it the largest gathering in Times Square since August 1945 during celebrations marking the end of World War II.

In 1972, entertainer Dick Clark began hosting a live half-hour ABC special detailing the event entitled Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, which not only aired the descent of the ball, but also performances from popular bands and commentary from various hosts in other cities, notably Las Vegasmarker, Los Angelesmarker, and Orlandomarker. During the millennium celebrations in 1999, Peter Jennings based ABC's operations in Times Square, hosting ABC 2000 Today.

Times Square today

Lights and advertising at the southern end of Times Square
Traffic at Times Square
Skyscrapers of Times Square
The theaters of Broadway and the huge number of animated neon and LED signs have long made them one of New York's iconic images, and a symbol of the intensely urban aspects of Manhattan. Times Square is the only neighborhood with zoning ordinances requiring building owners to display illuminated signs. The density of illuminated signs in Times Square now rivals that of Las Vegas. Officially, signs in Times Square are called "spectaculars", and the largest of them are called "jumbotrons."

In 1992, the Times Square Alliance (formerly the Times Square Business Improvement District, or "BID" for short), a coalition of city government and local businesses dedicated to improving the quality of commerce and cleanliness in the district, started operations in the area. Times Square now boasts attractions such as ABC's Times Square Studios, where Good Morning America is broadcast live, an elaborate Toys "Я" Us store, and competing Hershey's and M&M's stores across the street from each other, as well as restaurants such as Ruby Foo's (Chinese food), the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (seafood), Planet Hollywood Restaurant and Bar (theme restaurant) and Carmine's (Italian) along with a number of multiplex movie theaters. It has also attracted a number of large financial, publishing, and media firms to set up headquarters in the area. A larger presence of police has improved the safety of the area.

Notable signage includes the Toshiba billboard directly under the NYE ball drop and the curved seven-story NASDAQ sign at the NASDAQ MarketSitemarker at 4 Times Squaremarker on 43rd Street and the curved Coca-Cola sign located underneath another large LED display owned and operated by Samsung. Both the Coca-Cola sign and Samsung LED displays were built by LED display manufacturer Daktronics.

In 2002, New York City's mayor, Rudy Giuliani, gave the oath of office to the city's next mayor, Michael Bloomberg, at Times Square after midnight on January 1 as part of the 2001–2002 New Year's celebration. Approximately 500,000 revelers attended. Security was high following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, with more than 7,000 New York City police on duty in the Square, twice the number for an ordinary year.

On the morning of March 6, 2008 a small bomb in the area by the military recruiting station caused minor damage but no reported injuries.

Time Square's first environmentally friendly billboard powered by wind and solar energy was first lit on December 4, 2008.
Times Square Pedestrianized
On February 26, 2009, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that traffic lanes along Broadwaymarker from 42nd Streetmarker to 47th Street would be de-mapped starting Memorial Day 2009 and transformed into pedestrian plazas until at least the end of the year as a trial. The same was done from 33rd to 35th Street. The goal is to ease traffic congestion throughout the Midtown grid. The results will be closely monitored to determine if the project works and should be extended." Bloomberg also stated " he believes the street shutdown will make New York more livable by reducing pollution, cutting down on pedestrian accidents and helping traffic flow more smoothly."

Notable landmarks

Times Square is a busy intersection of art and commerce, where the chaos of hundreds of advertisements (signs and "newscrawlers") vie for viewers' attention. A few famous examples:



Corporate presence

The following companies have corporate presences in the area:



Major buildings on and near Times Square







Times Square in popular culture

wide


The Times Square neighborhood, notably its busiest intersection, has been featured countless times in literature, on television, in films, in music videos and recently in video games. An immediately recognizable setting, Times Square has been frequently attacked and destroyed in a number of movies, including Deep Impact, when a tidal wave destroys Times Square, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, when robots broadcast a message. Films have also employed the opposite tactic, depicting the typically bustling area as eerily still, such as in Vanilla Sky, as well as the post-apocalyptic I Am Legend, in which Will Smith and his dog go hunting for deer in the deserted urban canyon.

See also



References

Notes

Bibliography

  • The Devil's Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square by James Traub (ISBN 0-375-50788-4)


External links




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