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Longacre Square

Longacre Square

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Longacre Square in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, the predecessor of Times Square, Manhattan
Times Square
Times Square is a major commercial intersection in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets...

, formed a nexus of important roads to the north of the island at the intersection of 42nd Street
42nd Street (Manhattan)
42nd Street is a major crosstown street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, known for its theaters, especially near the intersection with Broadway at Times Square. It is also the name of the region of the theater district near that intersection...

, Bloomingdale Road
Broadway (New York City)
Broadway is a prominent avenue in New York City, United States, which runs through the full length of the borough of Manhattan and continues northward through the Bronx borough before terminating in Westchester County, New York. It is the oldest north–south main thoroughfare in the city, dating to...

 and Seventh Avenue
Seventh Avenue (Manhattan)
Seventh Avenue, known as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard north of Central Park, is a thoroughfare on the West Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It is southbound below Central Park and a two-way street north of the park....

, today in Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan, or simply Midtown, is an area of Manhattan, New York City home to world-famous commercial zones such as Rockefeller Center, Broadway, and Times Square...

.

On the island of Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 as it was when it was discovered by the Dutch, the Great Kill (Dutch: Grote Kill), which formed from three small streams that united near 10th Avenue and 40th street, wound through the low-lying Reed Valley renowned for fish and waterfowl to empty into the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 at a deep bay on the river at the present 42nd Street. The name was retained in a tiny hamlet, Great Kill, that became a center for carriage-making, as the upland to the south and east became known as Longacre by the mid-19th century, after Long Acre, similarly a carriage-making district
Long Acre
Long Acre is a street in central London, England. Starting from St. Martin's Lane it runs from west to east just north of Covent Garden piazza, one block north of Floral Street. The street was completed in the early 17th century. It was once known for its coach-makers, and later for its car dealers...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, that was also a home to stables. William Henry Vanderbilt
William Henry Vanderbilt
William Henry Vanderbilt I was an American businessman and a member of the prominent Vanderbilt family.-Childhood:William Vanderbilt was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1821...

 owned and ran the American Horse Exchange there until the turn of the 20th century.

As more profitable commerce and industrialization of lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan is the southernmost part of the island of Manhattan, the main island and center of business and government of the City of New York...

 pushed homes, theaters, and prostitution northward from the Tenderloin District
Tenderloin, Manhattan
The Tenderloin was an entertainment and red-light district in the heart of the New York City borough of Manhattan during the late 19th and early 20th centuries...

, Long Acre Square became nicknamed the Thieves Lair for its rollicking reputation as a low entertainment district. The first theater on the square, the Olympia
Olympia Theatre (New York)
The Olympia Theatre , also known as Hammerstein's Olympia, was a theatre complex built by impresario Oscar Hammerstein I in Longacre Square , New York City, opening in 1895. It consisted of a theatre, a music hall, a concert hall, and a roof garden...

, was built by cigar manufacturer and impresario
Impresario
An impresario is a person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays or operas; analogous to a film producer in filmmaking, television production and an angel investor in business...

 Oscar Hammerstein I
Oscar Hammerstein I
Oscar Hammerstein I was a businessman, theater impresario and composer in New York City. His passion for opera led him to open several opera houses, and he rekindled opera's popularity in America...

. "By the early 1890s this once sparsely settled stretch of Broadway was ablaze with electric light and thronged by crowds of middle- and upper-class theatre, restaurant and cafe patrons."

It was renamed Times Square
Times Square
Times Square is a major commercial intersection in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets...

 on April 8, 1904, by proclamation of Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr.
George B. McClellan, Jr.
George Brinton McClellan, Jr., was an American politician, statesman, and educator. The son of American Civil War general and presidential candidate George B...

 at the urging of Adolph Ochs, owner and publisher of the New York Times. The north end later became Duffy Square
Duffy Square
Duffy Square is the northern triangle of Times Square in Manhattan, New York City. It is located between 45th and 47th Streets, Broadway and Seventh Avenue and is well known for the TKTS reduced-price theater tickets booth located there....

.