Throughout New York’s history, Times Square has served as a bellwether of the city’s current mood — as well as the perceptions of the city, both for those who live here and those who don’t. Once, Times Square was a high temple of glamour, the glowing heart of a go-go metropolis. Then it, like the city around it, slid into seedy decline. When much of New York was sleazy and dangerous, nowhere seemed sleazier or more dangerous than 42nd Street. And when Times Square came to feel too touristy, it mirrored a parallel worry that New York itself was losing some of its intrinsic grit. Times Square exists less as a crossroads than as a repository for our collective hopes and fears for the city. Now it’s entering a new phase — perhaps the strangest, most inscrutable one yet.
—Adam Sternbergh, writing in New York Magazine about the history and future of New York’s iconic Times Square.