longacre square 1880s

Look at the above photo, which was taken in New York City in or around the year 1880. I won’t tell you exactly where this is because it will give it away. In the very early days of New York this was called the “Great Kill,” not because of any sinister connotation, but because of the old Dutch name for the area. This place was so far off the beaten path in the 17th century that it barely qualified as part of New York (or New Amsterdam, as it were). Later as the city grew up, this place became the center of carriage making. Probably as many horses as human beings lived here. In the later 19th century there were also some cheap theaters in the area, and a lot of prostitutes plied their wares here.

On this day, 110 years ago, April 8, 1904, this place was renamed. If you haven’t figured it out yet, scroll down for a more modern view.

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times square

How things change!