Times Square History

Formed by the intersection of Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 42nd Street, this famous square was named for the building there that formerly belonged to the New York Times. The building, located in the center of the square, is still famous for its band of lights that transmits up-to-the-minute news. Times Square and the adjacent area form one of the most concentrated entertainment districts in the nation, featuring legitimate theaters, motion picture houses, shops, newsstands, bars, and restaurants.

When the New York Times erected a new building on 43rd Street in 1904, the neighborhood took on the name "Times Square." Just a few short years before, Longacre Square as it was then known, was considered a dangerous place where only those of ill repute would venture.

A decade later, theater, vaudeville and cabaret migrated to the streets nearby, attracting much tourism by the 1920s. But the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression led to a sharp decline in theater attendance. Businesses needing something to draw people into the area, the notorious period of Times Square was born. It was mainly during the 60's and 70's that live nude shows, erotic bookstores, and x-rated movies occupied the area. By 1975 Times Square was being described as a 'sinkhole' by a daily New York newspaper. The crime rate sky rocketed causing Times Square to be the most dangerous place in the city, keeping tourists away.

In the early 1980s, the city and businesses began to band together to make major efforts to restore the neighborhood to its former, more wholesome, reputation.

By the late 1990's Times Square was restored to its intended glory. It is uniquely the only zone in the New York City where tenants are required to display bright signs. With 27,000 residents and an estimated 26 million annual visitors each year, Times Square has changed drastically since its inauguration 100 years ago.



The first rooftop celebration atop One Times Square, complete with a fireworks display, took place in 1904. The New York Times produced this event to inaugurate its new headquarters in Times Square and celebrate the renaming of Longacre Square to Times Square.

The first Ball Lowering celebration atop One Times Square was held on December 31, 1907 and is now a worldwide symbol of the turn of the New Year, seen via satellite by more than one billion people each year.

In 1942 and 1943 the Ball Lowering was suspended due to the wartime dimout. The crowds who still gathered in Times Square celebrated with a minute of silence followed by chimes ringing out from an amplifier truck parked at One Times Square.

The original New Year\'s Eve Ball weighed 700 pounds and was 5 feet in diameter. It was made of iron and wood and was decorated with 100 25-watt light bulbs.

The New Year\'s Eve Ball is the property of the building owners of One Times Square.


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EarthCam's New Year's Webcast
Travel to the heart of Times Square in New York City for the biggest party of the year...New Year's Eve! Experience the celebrations from several exciting vantage points, including live streaming street-level perspectives. Turn up the volume and join everyone for the countdown to midnight!

Join parties around the world and enjoy the celebrations in real-time from Amsterdam, Jamaica, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Dublin and many more. Stay tuned for our Broadcast Special, LIVE from Times Square, starting at 10:00pm EST.

Take the sights and sounds of Times Square wherever you go with EarthCam's exclusive app, full of fun new features!

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