Times Square

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For other uses, see Times Square (disambiguation)

Times Square is the name given to a principal intersection, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Like Red Square in Moscow, Champs-Elysées in Paris, Trafalgar Square in London, or Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Times Square has achieved the status of an iconic world landmark and has become a symbol of New York. Times Square is principally defined by its lighted and animated advertisements.

Times Square consists of the blocks between Seventh and Ninth Avenues from east to west, and West 39th and West 52nd Streets from south to north (40.75659° N 73.98626° W), making up the western part of the commercial area of Midtown Manhattan.

Contents

[edit] History

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Broadway at 42nd St. 1880

In the early 1900s The New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs moved the paper's operations to a new tower, now called One Times Square, on 42nd Street in the middle of the area known as Longacre Square. Ochs persuaded Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr. to build a subway station there and rename it Times Square. On April 8, 1904, officiated by Mayor McClellan, it was renamed. Just three weeks later, the first advertisement appeared on the side of a bank at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway.

The Times moved out of the tower in 1913, although it remains in the neighborhood. Later known as the Allied Chemical Building and now known as One Times Square, the tower 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 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, but was outlawed by city officials. 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.

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Looking towards 1 Times Square.

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.

On average, approximately 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.

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," writes James Traub in The Devil's Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square. Names such as Irving Berlin, Fred Astaire, and Charlie Chaplin were closely associated with Times Square in the 1910s and 1920s.

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NYPD kiosk at Times Square

The atmosphere changed with the onset of the Great Depression during the 1930s. Times Square became a neighborhood full of "peep shows", erotic all-night movie houses, and stores selling cheap tourist merchandise. The change is captured in Damon Runyon's stories, including his collection Guys and Dolls. In the decades afterwards, it was considered a dangerous neighborhood. The seediness of Times Square was a famous symbol of New York City's danger and corruption from the 1960s until the early 1990s. Influential and dark films such as Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Taxi Driver (1976) had many scenes in Times Square, while its grindhouse cinemas routinely showed sleazy and X-rated films.

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. Then, in the mid-1990s, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (19942002), led an intense effort to "clean up" the area, including closing sex shops, increasing security, driving out the "squeegee men" and opening more tourist-friendly attractions. The process began when the local government issued an injunction against the tight clustering of the porn shops in the 42nd Street area. Many of the sex shops closed or moved to industrial areas in Brooklyn or Queens and New Jersey. More up-scale establishments have opened. Advocates of the remodeling claim that the neighborhood is safer and cleaner. Detractors, on the other hand, argue that the changes have diluted 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 theatres on 42nd Street. The New 42nd Street nonprofit organization was appointed to oversee their restoration and care. The theatres were variously renovated for Broadway shows, converted for commercial purposes, or demolished.

[edit] Times Square today

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Times Square at night

The theaters of Broadway and the huge number of gaudy animated neon and television-style signage 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 a zoning ordinance requiring tenants to display bright signs. The density of illuminated signs in Times Square now rivals Las Vegas. Officially, signs in Times Square are called "spectaculars."

In 1992, the Times Square Alliance (formerly the Times Square Business Improvement District, or "BID" for short), a coalition of 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) 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. While the revitalized region is undoubtedly safer and more pleasant, some complain that the area has lost its spark and is now a thoroughly sanitized, "Disneyfied" version of its former self.

A notable example of the signage is the 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 over $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. News Corp. took over on that date and will be showing the Fox News Channel.

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

You can view different areas in Times Square live on the webcam website Earthcam. You can also view archives of the day or of famous events (such as New Years or the Thanksgiving Day Parade), look at or post a "Hall of Fame" picture, or even watch a live panoramic video of Times Square.

[edit] Corporate presence

The following corporations are headquartered at Times Square with many others having corporate presences in the area:

[edit] Major buildings on and near Times Square

[edit] Times Square in popular culture

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Times Square from inside a NYC taxi
The Times Square neighborhood, notably its busiest intersection, has been featured countless times in literature, on television, and in films. Among the instances:

The first opening credit crawl of Saturday Night Live featured cast members' names and, later, photographs, superimposed over billboards in Times Square.

In the 1990 film Quick Change, Bill Murray exits the subway in Times Square.

In the 1992 film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Catherine O'Hara asks two New York City police officers for help in locating her lost son while in Times Square on Christmas Eve.

On the popular show, America's Next Top Model, three cycles were filmed in New York, and Times Square was shown in Cycle 3.

For the 2001 film Vanilla Sky, Times Square was shut down for three hours<ref ="ebert">http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20011214/REVIEWS/112140304/1023</ref> for a scene where Tom Cruise is alone in Times Square.

The title character in the 2002 blockbuster Spider-Man does battle with the Green Goblin in Times Square and also saves the life of heroine Mary Jane.

Times Square is featured at length in the 2005 film King Kong – ‘Kong’ breaks free of restraints on a Broadway stage, then smashes through the building’s front on to Times Square where mayhem follows.

Times Square currently serves as the shooting location for ABC's Good Morning America, MTV's Total Request Live (taped in a studio overlooking the Square), and the annual Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. The studio where Good Morning America is broadcast from is where Peter Jennings hosted ABC 2000 Today, ABC News's coverage of the millennium, and where Dick Clark hosts Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve.

In the 2005 video game True Crime: New York City, the headquarters of the Police Department of New York (slightly changed version of New York Police Department due to licensing reasons) are located in Times Square, more specifically on the corner of Broadway and 7th Avenue, at the site of the One Astor Plaza, home to Viacom. The square also appears, although fake products are used in the advertising spaces. Such landmarks like the TKTS booth (shown in the game as SHOWS) appear.

The 2006 video game Driver: Parallel Lines features Times Square in both of its time era setting. One is of a 1978 version of Times Square, and the other is a 2006 version of Times Square. The products which appear in the advertising spaces are actually fake products, but some of them do advertise the company which created and produced the game, Atari.

The likeness of Times Square was used for the opening theme of the NFL Sunday Night Football on NBC Sports.

The Xbox video game Forza Motorsport features Times Square in two racing circits, New York Circuit and New York Circuit Short.

The band The Plain White T's mentions Times Square in their song "Hey There Delilah."

[edit] References

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[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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