Ninety-nine years ago today, the city center in Midtown Manhattan, formerly known as Longacre Square, was officially redubbed “Times Square.”
In April 1904, The New York Times moved its operations to the newly constructed Times Building—then the second tallest building in the city—on 42nd Street at Longacre Square. Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs convinced Mayor George McClellan to build a subway station there and rename the area for his newspaper. (Three weeks later, as if carrying out some bit of genetic code, the first electrified ad appeared on the side of a bank at 46th Street and Broadway.)
The Times modestly published a story about the rededication the following day:
On December 31 of that year, Ochs began the tradition of celebrating New Year’s Eve at Times Square. And three years later, the famous Times Square Ball drop from the roof of the Times Building, known simply today as One Times Square, was added to the annual jamboree.
Here’s a picture of what Times Square looked like way back then: