100 Years Ago, an Intersection's New Name: Times Square
By JAMES BARRON, NYT, April 8, 2004
One hundred years ago today, New York City renamed the intersection of Broadway
and Seventh Avenue. The headline the next morning told the story: ''Times Square
Is the Name of City's New Centre.''
Those nine words appeared on Page 2 of The New York Times on April 9, 1904, the
morning after Mayor George B. McClellan signed the resolution changing the name
of Long Acre Square. Beneath the headline was a map with ''Times Square'' in
large letters and the new landmarks of what had been a horse-and-buggy
neighborhood -- Long Acre Square had been named after London's carriage
One new landmark was The Times's not-yet-completed headquarters, a Gothic
fortress that was being built between Broadway and Seventh Avenue and 42nd and
43rd Streets. An advertisement for the building on April 10 boasted that it
would ''probably be the tallest skeleton structure in New York, measuring 430
feet in all.''
The Times did not move to Times Square until January 1905. From the old
headquarters on Park Row in Lower Manhattan, the newspaper's editorial page
commented on the name change on the morning the map was published. Times Square,
The Times said, ''is a name that serves perfectly for identification and is one,
we think, not likely to be forgotten in this community.''
Or at least not in The Times's new building. Its main entrance led to a subway
station. And the subway, The Times said, was the reason for the new name.
''The choice of this name grew naturally out of the necessity of having a
distinctive title for the subway station in the basement of The Times Building
at the corner of Forty-second Street and Broadway,'' The Times explained. ''To
have called the station 'Forty-second Street' would have been a source of
endless confusion, since the Grand Central Station of the subway is also on
Forty-second Street. The name 'Broadway Station' would have been open to the
same objection, since there are many other subway stations on Broadway. The name
Times Station naturally suggested itself, since the subway passes through the
first underground story of The Times Building.''
Adolph S. Ochs, the publisher of The Times from 1896 to 1935, said that the name
change originated with August Belmont, whose Interborough Rapid Transit Company
was putting the finishing touches on the subway.
''I am pleased to say that Times Square was named without any effort or
suggestion on the part of The Times,'' Ochs told the business manager of The
Syracuse Herald in a letter on April 13. But he was clearly proud of what was
going on in Times Square. He called the paper's new building ''the first
successful effort in New York to give architectural beauty to a skyscraper.''
As he also noted, New York had named a square for a newspaper before -- Herald
Square. Also, he wrote, ''The old name of Long Acre Square meant nothing,
The issue of Jan. 1, 1905, was the last printed at The Times's old building at
41 Park Row. Twenty-seven Linotype machines were taken apart, hauled uptown and
put back together, where 11 new Linotypes had already been installed. In the
basement were new presses that could print, fold and count 144,000 copies an
The paper soon outgrew the tower, and in 1913 moved less than a block away, to
what had been an annex at 229 West 43rd Street, where it remains today. The
company sold the tower in Times Square in 1961.