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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Times Square like you've never seen it before: Amazing images capture the Crossroads of the World from 1904 to modern days


Roots: A new skyscraper, right, still under construction in 1904, become the headquarters of the New York Times for nine years, giving Longacre Square a new name

Whenever someone mentions New York City in passing, Times Square is almost always the first thing that comes to mind.
The bustling Crossroads of the World, the pulsating core of the Big Apple lit in myriads of neon lights has been drawing tourists from around the world like a magnet for nearly a century.
The intersection at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue acquired its world-famous name in 1904 when Albert Ochs, then-publisher of the New York Times, moved the newspaper’s offices to a new skyscraper – the second highest in the city at the time - on what was then known as Longacre Square.

Simpler times: A street sweeper works amidst horse drawn carriages along Broadway, south of 45th Street in Longacre Square in 1908

The legend begins: On New Year's Eve in 1904, the New York Times celebrated its relocation to a new skyscraper at the square with a fireworks display

Bustling nightlife: By 1925, Times Square has become a destination for locals and tourists alike looking to dine at a fine restaurant and see a show in one of the many theaters on Broadway

Exciting spot: Times Square retained its new name even after the New York Times moved to another location in 1913

The name stuck, even after the paper moved across Broadway in 1913, according to the site NYC Tourist. Over the years, the junction has become an irresistible destination with something for everyone, from fine restaurants to renowned theaters and other curiosities, all conveniently located next to a major subway hub.
But anyone who has visited the Crossroads of the World can attest that the true face of Ties Square is revealed after-hours, when the thousands of neon signs come to life, making the darkest night as bright as day.
A series of remarkable photos showing Times Square through the years were compiled on the site Oobject, documenting the transformation of the world-famous junction at the heart of New York City from quaint Longacre Square into the bustling tourist hub of touday. were com
The area has seen tough times over the years. What started out as a new uptown neighborhood dotted with brownstones had turned into a seedy, crime-ridden red-light district filled with prostitutes, brothels, gentlemen’s clubs, drug addicts and pickpockets.

Bad reputation: Over the years, times Square, seen in this 1942 image, has effectively turned into the city's red-light district filled with brothels and prostitutes

Commercial mecca: Even in the 1940s, visitors to Times Square were bombarded with over-sized billboards hawking anything from Pepsi Cola to whiskey

Longacre Square started with a few brownstones built by a developer who saw potential for a new "uptown" neighborhood. Soon, in a foreshadowing of its later fate, the area turned into a veritable red-light district.
In 1895, the junction, still known at the time as Longacre Square, got a new tenant, Oscar Hammerstein I, who developed a large entertainment complex, called Olympia, in the hopes of rekindling an interest in opera.
During this time, many new theaters opened on Broadway. In 1904, The New York Times celebrated the opening of its new headquarters with a New Year’s Eve event. Since then, millions of people have flocked to the junction on December 31 to see the ball drop.

Vintage look: A view of Times Square at night, New York City, New York, circa 1949

Historic: The image of the Apollo 11 spacecraft atop its Saturn 5 rocket adorns the east face of the Allied Chemical Tower in Times Square in 1969, left,

But Times Square’s bad reputation had stuck. It was not until the early 1990s, under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, that the Crossroads of the World began transformation into a more family-friendly destination.
Even though it is not unusual to come across a peep show or an adult video store along some of the side streets surrounding Times Square, these days the area is much safer and more welcoming to the 26 million tourists who flock to it every year.
Not surprisingly, New Yorkers tend to avoid Times Square at all costs.

Vibrant: Times Square robed in neon lights in 1966

Greatest show on earth: Tourists coming to New York City always make sure to visit Times Square after dark in order to see all the lights and colors come to life

Party time: On December 31, 2004, millions of people gathered at Times Square to witness the annual ball drop ceremony

source: dailymail

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