Manhattan’s Times Square is now packed with people almost every day of the year. The pedestrian plaza, created in 2009 but permanently and officially opened in 2013, has become one of New York City’s biggest tourist attractions. It draws an estimated 39 million people a year. If you’re trying to maneuver your way through the area, it often feels like it draws over 39 million people a DAY.

website Times sq plzawebsite ny eve times sq

I’m not a fan. But I’ll save that diatribe for another post.

As New Year’s Eve approaches and more than one million semi-sober partiers flock to watch the ball drop in Times Square, it’s more fun to take a quick look at how the tradition got its start. In 1904, about 110 years before questionably legitimate cartoon characters started aggressively charging families for a photo, Longacre Square was renamed for the opening of the New York Times distinctive new headquarters. That same year a New Year’s Eve tradition was born.

website ny times bldg front


This great video shows how the celebrations evolved over the years:



For some interesting additional info, check out:

A Curbed NY article on how NYC has become more pedestrian friendly over the last 25 years:


A NY Times piece on “The Lives Behind Times Square Cartoon Characters”:


A longer history of Times Square as the entertainment center of NYC via the New York Architecture site: