New York City became what is now the well-known “crossroads of the world”: Times Square. The most visited tourist attraction in the world, with 39 million visitors annually, Times Square covers the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenues and stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets.On April 8, 1904, Longacre Square in
In the 1800s, the area was the center of the carriage industry in New York and so was named after London’s carriage district, Long Acre. But what had once been manor houses and countryside stables became known as a low-entertainment district as the city expanded. In 1904, the New York Times moved to a new skyscraper at 42nd St. and publisher Adolph Ochs convinced the mayor to rename the square and build a subway station. Just weeks later, the first of the famous electric billboards appeared in the square.
Though the paper moved into an office just west of the square in 1913, the intersection was already becoming a bustling hub of theater and arts, attracting high-end hotels and celebrities. It was also a popular gathering place for major events, most famously New Year’s Eve. Marking the New Year with the dropping of a ball began in 1907.
While the area struggled with crime and seediness from the 1960s to 1990s, commercial development and rebuilding of the historic theaters helped revitalize the square more recently. In 2010, parts of the plaza became pedestrian-only. And today, landmarks and Broadway shows help attract people from around the world looking to experience the center of New York.