History[ edit ] Broadway at 42nd Street in A crowd outside The New York Times building follows the progress of the Jack Dempsey — Georges Carpentier fight in Early history[ edit ] When Manhattan Island was first settled by the Dutch, three small streams united near what is now 10th Avenue and 40th street. These three streams formed the "Great Kill" Dutch: From there the Great Kill wound through the low-lying Reed Valley, known for fish and waterfowl  and emptied into a deep bay in the Hudson River at the present 42nd Street.
Scott's manor house was at what is currently 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. The locality had not previously been given a name, and city authorities called it Longacre Square after Long Acre in London, where the horse and carriage trade was centered in that city.
In it became the Winter Garden Theatre. The first theater on the square, the Olympia , was built by cigar manufacturer and impresario Oscar Hammerstein I. Ochs moved the newspaper's operations to a new skyscraper on 42nd Street at Longacre Square, on the site of the former Pabst Hotel , which had existed on the site for less than a decade since it opened in November Chesterton ,  disliked the advertising at Times Square.
Fritz Lang , after seeing Times Square in , used it as inspiration for his dark industrial film Metropolis. However, it was also during this period that the area began to be 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. City residents moved uptown to cheaper neighborhoods, and many popular theaters closed, replaced by saloons, brothels, "burlesque halls, vaudeville stages, and dime houses.
Instead, a moment of silence was observed at midnight in Times Square, accompanied by the sound of chimes played from sound trucks. By , an unprecedented 2, annual crimes occurred on that single block, of which were serious felonies such as murder and rape.
At the time, police morale was low and petty criminals who committed misdemeanors were not being arrested. William Bratton , who was appointed New York City Police Commissioner in and again in , stated, "The [NYPD] didn't want high performance; it wanted to stay out of trouble, to avoid corruption scandals and conflicts in the community.
For years, therefore, the key to career success in the NYPD, as in many bureaucratic leviathans, was to shun risk and avoid failure. Accordingly, cops became more cautious as they rose in rank, right up to the highest levels. In the s, a commercial building boom began in the western parts of Midtown as part of a long-term development plan developed under Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins.
The theatres underwent renovation for Broadway shows, conversion for commercial purposes, or demolition. Advocates of the remodeling claim that the neighborhood is safer and cleaner. Detractors have countered that the changes have homogenized or "Disneyfied" the character of Times Square and have unfairly targeted lower-income New Yorkers from nearby neighborhoods such as Hell's Kitchen. As part of a contract with Disney, officials from the city and state evicted the pornographic theaters and contracted with Madame Tussauds and AMC Theatres to move onto 42nd Street.
This spurred the construction of new office towers, hotels, and tourist attractions in the area. Additionally, the area contains restaurants such as Ruby Foo's, a Chinese eatery; the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company , a seafood establishment; Planet Hollywood Restaurant and Bar , a theme restaurant ; and Carmine's, serving Italian cuisine. 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.
Such signage is mandated by zoning ordinances that require building owners to display illuminated signs, the only district in New York City with this requirement. Officially, signs in Times Square are called "spectaculars", and the largest of them are called " jumbotrons ". This signage ordinance was implemented in accordance with guidelines set in a revitalization program that New York Governor Mario Cuomo implemented in Times Square's first environmentally friendly billboard powered by wind and solar energy was first lit on December 4, Approximately , revelers attended.
Security was high following the September 11 terrorist attacks in , with more than 7, New York City police officers on duty in the Square, twice the number for an ordinary year. Tim Tompkins, co-founder of the event, said part of its appeal was "finding stillness and calm amid the city rush on the longest day of the year". It was found to be a failed bombing. The same was done in Herald Square from 33rd to 35th Street.
The goal was to ease traffic congestion throughout the midtown grid. The results were to be closely monitored to determine if the project was successful and should be extended.
About one million revelers crowd Times Square for the New Year's Eve celebrations, more than twice the usual number of visitors the area usually receives daily.
On that night, hundreds of thousands of people congregate to watch the Waterford Crystal ball being lowered on a pole atop the building, marking the start of the new year. It replaced a lavish fireworks display from the top of the building that was held from to , but stopped by city officials because of the danger of fire. Beginning in , 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.
One Astor Plaza Broadway is the headquarters of Viacom. It replaced the Astor Hotel in , when Times Square "redevelopment" plans allowed oversized office towers if they included new theatres.