At the heart of the non-stop bustle of modern Times Square stands One Times Square, the former headquarters of the New York Times and the skyscraper – now all but invisible behind billboards – that gave the square its name in 1904. Around it, a once-humble district of carriage houses and coal merchants at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue evolved into “The Crossroads of the World.” Here impresarios and real-estate moguls vied to outdo each other as they built theaters and hotels, penny arcades and restaurants, dime museums and office towers in an unending cycle of reinvention and reimagination.
More than any other public space in New York City, Times Square is the place where Americans have gathered, in good times and in bad, to catch up on the latest news, to mark historic occasions, or just to meet a few friends. From the Stock Market crash in 1929 – when the building’s iconic “Zipper” provided up-to-the-minute information – to the celebrations marking the end of the Second World War, to annual New Year’s Eve festivities with the iconic descending lighted ball, the square and its tower have been an integral part of our history.
One Times Square explores the story of this fascinating intersection, starting when Broadway was a mere dirt path known as Bloomingdale Road, through the district’s decades of postwar decay, to its renewal as a glittering tourist-friendly media mecca. McKendry’s meticulous, lush watercolors take readers behind the famous Camel billboard to find out how it blew smoke rings over the square for 25 years, to the top of the Times Tower to see how the New Year’s ball has made its descent for over 100 years, and onto construction sites as buildings grow up around One Times Square to dwarf what once ranked among the tallest buildings in the world.
<p><b>Joe McKendry</b> is a painter and illustrator whose work has appeared in over 100 publications worldwide, including the <i>New York Times<i>, the <i>London Times</i>, and <i>Vanity Fair</i>, as well as two books, <b><i>Beneath the Streets of Boston: Building America’s First Subway</b></i> (2005) and <b><i>One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World</b></i> (2012). A native of Maynard, Massachusetts, Mr. McKendry teaches painting and illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design.</p>
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