Times Square, Then and Now

One Times Square under construction, 1903 – Found at Shorpy

Early shot of Times Square  around 1904.

Times Square, 1908 – Found at Shorpy

Times Square, 1911 – found at Ephemeral New York

Longacre Square was renamed Times Square in 1904 when the New York Times constructed their headquarters there.

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Times Square, 1922 – Found at gothamist.com

Times Square at Dusk, 1932 – found at Pu(re)blog

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Times Square, 1935

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Times Square theaters by day, in New York City. The Times Building, Loew’s Theatre, Hotel Astor, Gaiety Theatre and other landmarks are featured in this January, 1938 photo. (Bofinger, E.M./Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) via Urbanobservatory

Times Square, 1943

Times Square, 1943, found at Shorpy


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Times Square, between November 1944 and January 1945 based on the “Tomorrow the World” and “3 is a family” marquees.

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Times Square at night, circa 1950

Times Square, circa 1951

Times Square, 1955

Times Square, 1955

Times Square in 1961

Times Square, 1961. Note the Horn and Hardart Automat.

Times Square, 1964. Found at Frog Blog

Times Square, 1966

By the 1970’s, Times Square had become a cesspool of smut, as shown in the following images:

I remember this Playland well – You could play Fascination there if you were over 18. There was one transient dude who would park himself right by the entrance and give passers-by the razzberry.

Time Square at night

Filthiest!

I remember one theatre on a side street that advertised “3 Hours of Beavers!”

In the mid 1990’s, Mayor Rudy Giuliani led a campaign to close the smut houses and restore the Times Square area to something more tourist-friendly. Supporters claim it’s an improvement, detractors point to the “Disneyfication” of the area. Having grown up there, I’m in the first camp. The 1970’s were depressing, and I’m glad that era is gone.

Except Moondog. He was cool.

Times Square, March 1996 –  Photo ©Nightrider, Berlin – Found at http://nycj.blogspot.com

Times Square, 21st Century – Found at DeviantArt

I won’t be around to see what Times Square looks like when my grandchildren take their grandchildren there, but I’ll bet it will still be something amazing to look at.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

4 responses to “Times Square, Then and Now

  1. Pingback: Times Square at dusk, 1932 | Playing in the World Game

  2. Pingback: Funny business: Because they’re free! | Playing in the World Game

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