Abook talk by Lynne Sagalyn, Times Square Remade: The Dynamics of Urban Change
The illuminating evolution of the iconic space of Times Square.
What is it about Times Square that has inspired such attention for well over a century? And how is it that, despite its many changes of character, the place has maintained a unique hold on our collective imagination? In this book, which comes twenty years after her widely acclaimed Times Square Roulette, Lynne Sagalyn masterfully tells the story of profound urban change over decades in the symbolic space that is New York City’s Times Square. Drawing on the history, sociology, and political economy of the place, Times Square Remade examines how the public-private transformation of 42nd Street at Times Square impacted the entertainment district and adjacent neighborhoods, particularly Hell's Kitchen.
Sagalyn chronicles the earliest halcyon days of 42nd Street and Times Square as the nexus of speculation and competitive theater building as well as its darkest days as vice central, and on to the years of aggressive government intervention to cleanse West 42nd Street of pornography and crime. Thematically, the author analyzes the three main forces that have shaped and reshaped Times Square—theater, real estate, and pornography—and explains the politics and economics of what got built and what has been restored or preserved.
Accompanied by nearly 160 images, more than half in color, Times Square Remade is a deftly woven narrative of urban transformation that will appeal as much to the general reader and New York City enthusiast as to urbanists, city planners, architects, urban designers, and policymakers.
Lynne B. Sagalyn is Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor Emerita of Real Estate at Columbia Business School, as well as a real estate professional. She is the author of Power at Ground Zero: Politics, Money, and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan, Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon (MIT Press), and Downtown, Inc.: How America Rebuilds Cities (coauthor, MIT Press).