Times Square is the intersection of Broadway and the 7th Avenue in Manhattan. It is an area of several blocks that make up the western part of the commercial area of Midtown Manhattan. It owes its name to the Times Building (now the One Times Square) which is located at the major intersection in Manhattan since the beginning of the 20th Century.
Also known as the “Crossroads of the World” (due to the fact of being the east end of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across the USA), it became an international landmark and a symbol of New York City, worldwide recognized by its spectacular and animated digital advertisements.
However, Times Square was not always the fashionable, cultural and secure place it is today. Even having accompanied New York’s expansion as a cultural hub full of theatres and music halls, after the great depression it gained a reputation of a dangerous neighborhood dominated by illegal gambling and prostitution, and between the 1960’s and the 1980’s it was known by its adult businesses.
As a result of the commercial building boom that began in the 1980’s in the western parts of the Midtown and to the efforts done in the mid 1990’s to change the environment encouraging friendlier tourist attractions, Times Square is again a safe and crowded place, full of light, theatres and up scale shops.
Times Square is the agora where New Yorkers join to celebrate important days. Undoubtedly, the most famous event is the annual New Years Eve ball drop, where every December 31 hundreds of thousands of people congregate to watch the ball being lowered on a pole atop the One Times Square building announcing the New Year. This ritual has been repeated since the 31 December of 1907, with the only exception of the years of World War II.
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