FROM DAZZLING TO DIRTY AND BACK AGAIN: A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIMES SQUARE
The following article and photos first appeared in a blog post written by Michael McMenamin for The Museum of the City of New York and are reused here courtesy of the museum.
Originally known as Long Acre (also Longacre) Square after London’s carriage district, Times Square served as the early site for William H. Vanderbilt’s American Horse Exchange. In the late 1880s, Long Acre Square consisted of a large open space surrounded by drab apartments. Soon, however, the neighborhood began to change. Electricity, in the form of theater advertisements and street lights, transformed public space into a safer, more inviting environment. Likewise, the construction of New York’s first rapid transit system, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), gave New Yorkers unprecedented mobility in the city.