Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The history of One Times Square
From the New Yorker:
The home of the New Year’s Eve ball — One Times Square — started out as the headquarters of the Times; it displayed early illuminated billboards and the famous news ticker. New Yorker staffers have made numerous trips to the building. A 1961 Talk of the Town story reported that “there was a time when a speakeasy was going full blast in one of the basements … and when the F.B.I. — this was during the Second World War — was holding pistol practice in a basement and using a seventh floor office to trap German spies.”
The building, eventually sold to Jamestown Properties, is now mostly unoccupied. The abandoned floors are littered with graffiti and the remnants of old signs. On New Year’s Eve, around a million people are expected to pack Times Square and fix their eyes on the ball. When it comes down, though, it will land above a building that has been empty for years.