Times Square is a major commercial intersection and a neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, at the junction of Broadway (now converted into a pedestrian plaza) and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. Times Square – iconified as “The Crossroads of the World”, “The Center of the Universe”, and the “The Great White Way“ – is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. According to Travel + Leisure magazine’s October 2011 survey, Times Square is the world’s most visited tourist attraction, hosting over 39 million visitors annually. Approximately 300,000 people pass through Times Square daily.
Formerly Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in April 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building – now called One Times Square – site of the annual ball drop on New Year’s Eve.
The northern triangle of Times Square is technically Duffy Square, dedicated in 1937 to Chaplain Francis P. Duffy of New York City’s “Fighting 69th” Infantry Regiment; a memorial to Duffy is located there, along with a statue of George M. Cohan, and the TKTS discount theater tickets booth. The stepped red roof of the TKTS booth also provides seating for various events. The Duffy Statue and the square were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
Before and after the American Revolution, the area belonged to John Morin Scott, a general of the New York militia, in which he served under George Washington. Scott’s manor house was at what is currently 43rd Street, surrounded by countryside used for farming and breeding horses. In the first half of the 19th century it became one of the prized possessions of John Jacob Astor, who made a second fortune selling off lots to hotels and other real estate concerns as the city rapidly spread uptown. By 1872 the area had become the center of New York’s carriage industry. The area not having previously been named, the city authorities called it Longacre Square after Long Acre in London, where the carriage trade in that city was centered.
 Early 20th century
In 1904, New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs moved the newspaper‘s operations to a new skyscraper on 42nd Street at Longacre Square. Ochs persuaded Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr. to construct a subway station there, and the area was renamed “Times Square” on April 8, 1904. Just three weeks later, the first electrified advertisement appeared on the side of a bank at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway.
The New York Times, according to Nolan, moved to more spacious offices west of the square in 1913. The old Times Building was later named the Allied Chemical Building. Now known simply as One Times Square, it is famed for the Times Square Ball drop on its roof every New Year’s Eve.
In 1913, the Lincoln Highway Association, headed by entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher, chose the intersection of 42nd Street and Broadway, at the southeast corner of Times Square, to be the Eastern Terminus of the Lincoln Highway, the first road across the United States, which originally spanned 3,389 miles (5,454 km) coast-to-coast through 13 states to its Western Terminus in Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California.
As the growth in New York City continued, Times Square quickly became a cultural hub full of theaters, music halls, and upscale hotels.
Times Square quickly became New York’s agora, a place to gather to await great tidings and to celebrate them, whether a World Series or a presidential election—James Traub, The Devil’s Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square
Celebrities such as Irving Berlin, Fred Astaire, and Charlie Chaplin were closely associated with Times Square in the 1910s and 1920s. During this period, the area was nicknamed The Tenderloin because it was supposedly the most desirable location in Manhattan. However, it was during this period that the area was besieged by crime and corruption, in the form of gambling and prostitution; one case that garnered huge attention was the arrest and subsequent execution of police officer Charles Becker.
The general atmosphere changed with the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Times Square acquired a reputation as a dangerous neighborhood in the following decades. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the seediness of the area, especially due its go-go bars, sex shops, and adult theaters, became an infamous symbol of the city’s decline.