Times Square Blog

A Bit of Times Square History

Are you planning a get-a-way to Times Square? You'll get more out of your escape if you know a bit about its history before you arrive. Here are some fun facts:

  • During the late 1800s, the Times Square area was the epicenter of the city's carriage industry.
  • Times Square was once named Longacre Square. It was renamed Times Square in 1904, when The New York Times moved its headquarters there.
  • The first electrified advertisement illuminated the streets of Times Square in 1904; it appeared on the side of a bank.
  • The year 1907 marked the first Ball Drop at Times Square and it's been held every year since- with the exception of 1942 or 1943 when wartime blackouts prevented the illuminated celebration.
  • Today, on a screen where the ball drops for New Year's Eve, you'll find an animated video countdown timer that lets you know exactly how long it will be until the big drop happens.
  • In 2011, Times Square transformed into a smoke-free zone, as New York's ban of outdoor smoking reached the area.

Learn the stories behind the bright lights by perusing fascinating Times Square books like these:

  • Postcards from Times Square-Sights & Sentiments from the Last Century By George J. Lankevich Square One Publishers, 2001
  • Ghosts of 42nd Street By Anthony Bianco HarperCollins Publisher, 1932
  • The Century in Times Square From the Archives of The New York Times Bishop Books, Inc, 1999

If you want to experience New York like a local, then check into a boutique hotel like Hotel Mela. Located steps from the very best entertainment and the rich history of Times Square, Hotel Mela gives you access to the excitement you expect out of a NYC weekend.