Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

TIMES SQUARE, 1984: The Postmodern Moment


Until January 18

Location: Skyscraper Museum, New York
Organizer: Skyscraper Museum



Times Square today is bright and crowded - a tourist mecca, entertainment district, retail powerhouse, and pedestrianized precinct that matches in vitality, both economic and populist, any decade of its storied past. But thirty years ago, the future of Times Square was in limbo - caught between a series of false starts at clean-slate urban renewal by the City and State and an emerging philosophy of urbanism that favored history, preservationist values, electric signs and semiotics, and delirious diversity. TIMES SQUARE, 1984 examines this decisive moment and the resulting transformation of the “Crossroads of the World.”

In 1984, in particular, the past and the future of Times Square collided at a pivotal moment when proposals to build a matched set of four mega-skyscrapers on the corner sites of the crossing of Broadway, Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street elicited howls of protest. City-supported plans even called for the demolition the 1904 Times Tower, which had given name to the square.

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