The Times Square Alliance is proud to continue to work to improve and promote Times Square, so that it retains the creativity, energy and edge that have made it an icon for entertainment, culture and urban life for over a century.
The building at One Times Square was completed in 1904 as the headquarters for the New York Times. The paper's owner, Adolph Ochs persuaded the city to change the name of the intersection from Longacre Square to Times Square, and in 1904 the New York Times had their first New Year's Eve display. Though the first display was strict with fireworks it still attracted 200,000 people. It wasn't until 1908 that the building began the famous tradition of the ball drop.
The Motograph News Bulletin is the electric news ticker that was added to the building in 1928. The first news story printed on the ticker was Herbert Hoover's election to the presidency, and the ticker is now a famous source of world news in New York. In 1945 the ticker was used to announce Japan's surrender in WWII. The Motograph News Bulletin is still there to this day, although it has since been updated with LED technology.
Perhaps the most famous portrayals of One Times Square is the collage of buzzing billboard screens that run up what is now a mostly vacant building. The rights to the billboard space at One Times Square has been sold many times. In 1995 the building was sold for $27.5 million to the Lehman Brothers. The Lehman Brothers thought it wouldn't have been cost-effective to house new tenants in the building, so they marketed the building as a key advertising location instead. In 1997 Lehman Brothers sold One Times Square to the Jamestown, L.P. for $117 million.
Although much of the building is empty today, there are plans to fill that vacant space by 2018 with a museum dedicated to the history of Times Square, an observatory, and an entrance to the subway directly below the building.
One Times Square has become the most trafficked sign at America's crossroads. No movie, book, TV show or youtube video about Times Square exists without it's buzzing LED visage gazing down upon it. It truly is the heart of Times Square.
Cover Photo Credit: George Rex via Flickr