Times Square is a major intersection in Manhattan, New York City at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. The Times Square area consists of the blocks between Sixth and Eighth Avenues from east to west, and West 40th and West 53rd Streets from south to north, making up the western part of the commercial area of Midtown Manhattan.
Like the Red Square in Moscow, Trafalgar Square in London, and Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Times Square has achieved the status of an iconic world landmark and has become a symbol of its city. Times Square is principally defined by its animated, digital advertisements.
Formerly Longacre Square, Times Square was named after the Times Building (now One Times Square) the former offices of The New York Times.
The intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street, at the southeast corner of Times Square, is the Eastern Terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across
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 - the man who became the first President of the United States. 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 nineteenth century it became one of the prize 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.
In the early 1900s, 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 station 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 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 Square, it is famed for the "ball" which "drops" from a tower on its roof every New Year's Eve.
As New York City's growth continued, Times Square quickly grew as a cultural hub full of theaters, music halls, and upscale hotels.
Times Square quickly became New York's agora, a place to gather both to await great tidings and to celebrate them, whether a World Series or a presidential election
—James Traub, The Devil's Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square
The general atmosphere changed with the onset of the Great Depression during the 1930s. In the decades afterward, it was considered a dangerous neighborhood. The seediness of Times Square, especially its adult businesses, was an infamous symbol of New York City's decline and corruption from the 1960s until the early 1990s.
In the 1980s, a commercial building boom began in the West 40s and 50s as part of a long-term development plan conceived under Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins. In the mid-1990s, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (1994–2002) led an intense effort to "clean up" the area, increasing security, driving out pornographic theaters, 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 Kitchen.
In 1990, the State of New York took possession of six of the nine historic theaters on 42nd Street. The New 42nd Street nonprofit organization was appointed to oversee their restoration and care. The theaters were variously renovated for Broadway shows, converted for commercial purposes, or demolished.
In November 2006, the traffic pattern through Times square was modified significantly in what is nicknamed by the New York City Department of Transportation as the "Times Square Shuffle." Cars traveling south on Seventh Ave can no longer stay on Seventh Ave when they reach Times Square. The road turns into Broadway, and to stay on Seventh Avenue drivers are now required to make a series of turns before reaching Times Square
|New Years Eve|
| 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 this 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 Years' Eve event in conjunction with the Times Square Alliance. A new energy-efficient LED ball, celebrating the centennial of the ball drop, debuted for the arrival of 2008
On average, about 750,000 revelers crowd Times Square for the New Year's Eve celebrations. However, for the millennium celebration on December 31, 1999, published reports stated approximately 2 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 Vegas, Los Angeles, and Orlando. During the millennium celebrations in 1999, Peter Jennings based ABC's operations in Times Square, hosting ABC 2000 Today.
The Theaters of Broadway and the huge number of animated neon and LED signs have long made it 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, elaborate Toys "R" Us, Virgin Records, and Hershey's stores, 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 their headquarters in the area. A larger police presence in Times Square has improved the safety of the area.
A notable example of the signage is the curved seven-story NASDAQ sign at the NASDAQ MarketSite at 4 Times Square on 43rd Street. Unveiled in January 2000, it cost $37 million to build. The sign is 120 feet (36.6m) high. NASDAQ pays more than $2 million a year to lease the space for this sign. This is actually considered a good deal in advertising as the number of "impressions" the sign makes far exceeds those generated by other ad forms.
General Electric leased, through its NBC Universal division, the famous Panasonic Astro Vision screen plate in the middle of Times Square until October 13, 2006 when News Corp. took over and started showing Fox News Channel.
On the morning of March 6, 2008 a small bomb went off in the area by the military recruiting station, causing minor damage but no injures.