At the day’s end I take the “E” train from Tribeca, getting off at 50th Street and 8th Avenue. On winter nights by 6pm the Broadway lights of Times Square are winking. I nod but seldom venture down. Once a year like a lemming I am inextricably drawn there.
Thanks to that superlative historian Peter Hamill, I now know about the great Adolph S. Ochs. In 1904, on New Year’s Eve, Ochs (Owner and Editor) launched his newspaper The New York Times from its uptown location: the Times Tower. The custom of fireworks, bell-ringing singing and the dropping of an illuminated globe to herald in a new year originated with him. Ochs was a marketing genius but his tradition outlived him and his newspaper.
On August 14th 1945, VJ day the American people claimed Times Square for their rejoicing.
It was simply the place to be. Times Square is more than a New Year’s Eve – she is larger than great Theater. She is the mapping of Manhattan’s last Square. Times Square began as a section of the wide Indian trail known as Broadway; she blossomed in her early days as “Longacre Square”. She matured into the entertainment region, but her iconic status arrived in 1945. Times Square is America’s Square – she is the place to be.
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