Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Story Behind Times Square

 __By Tiffany Amber Stockton__

In December, A Charlie Brown Christmas received the spotlight focus. To kick off the new year, let's look a little deeper into a location in the "city that never sleeps."


So, did you tune in at all to the Rockin' Eve show on New Year's Eve, broadcast from the world famous Times Square? That infamous ball drop is heralded not only here in the United States, but in many other countries around the world, and even though more than half the globe rings in the new year before New York City, there's an unofficial mark when it happens in the Eastern time zone.

For the most-visited tourist site in the U.S., New York City's Times Square actually had rather humble beginnings. Did you know countryside once surrounded the entire area? Or that American Revolution-era statesman John Morin Scott used most of it for farming?

The area now known as Times Square fell into the hands of real estate mogul John Jacob Astor in the 1800s. By the second half of the 19th century, that area had become the center of the city’s horse carriage manufacturing industry and home to William H. Vanderbilt’s American Horse Exchange. City authorities named it Long Acre Square, a reference to London’s historic carriage and coach-making district.

This name remained until 1904, when The New York Times moved its headquarters to a lavish new skyscraper called Times Tower. That same year, Mayor George B. McClellan signed a resolution that renamed the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue (and 42nd and 43rd streets) from Long Acre Square to Times Square. The newspaper's new home set its address as One Times Square. In no time at all, t
he square established prominence as one of the most important places in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. Construction of theaters, restaurants, and luxury and first-class hotels added to that distinction.

The Times Square ball first dropped in 1904, thanks to Jacob Starr, a Ukrainian immigrant and metalworker, and the former New York Times publisher, Adolph Ochs. This year of 2024 marks 120 years. For more on that history, read the post I wrote 10 years ago.


* Does your New Year's Eve tradition involve watching the famous ball drop? If not, what do you do to ring in the new year?

* Have you ever been to Times Square? What was the purpose of your visit?

* If you've never been to New York City, would you want to visit? And if so, what would you want to do there? If not, why?

** This note is for our email readers. Please do not reply via email with any comments. View the blog online and scroll down to the comments section.

Come back on the 9th of each month for my next foray into historical tidbits to share.

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Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning, best-selling author and speaker who is also a professional copywriter/copyeditor. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help improve their lives in a variety of ways.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children, one dog, and three cats in southeastern Kentucky. In the 20 years she's been a professional writer, she has sold twenty-six (26) books so far and is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.


  1. Thank you for posting, and Happy New Year to you and your family. We don't really have a New Year's Eve tradition, unless you call staying home and off the roads a tradition! I have been to NYC twice; once as a teenager visiting cousins who took me there, another time with a dear friend who loves to travel and had been to NYC many times. Both were just for a few hours. Sometimes I think I'd like to go again, but then I talk myself out of it, lol.

  2. I grew up in New Jersey so we got to go to times square a few times. Never when the ball dropped. We did get to see the tall ships when this country celebrated it's 200 year birthday a few days after. Been to New York City as a child many times. Interesting and crazy city even in the 60's and 70's.

  3. My husband and I have visited NYC several times. Our favorite trip was when we took his Mom to NYC when she was in her early 80's (she had always wanted to see that city). She loved it! We splured and got front row seats to a broadway play. It was a great trip.