The Double Erasure of Times Square
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The Double Erasure of Times Square book
By the late 1990s, Manhattan shows signs of suffering from a series of Disneyfications and Theme Park simulations. Times Square/42nd Street, for example, the meeting of two triangles that form an “X” at 42nd Street, was once was the popular entertainment district of vaudeville and the Broadway theater. This rowdy playground has been the central public place where New Yorkers have celebrated New Year’s Eve since the early twentieth century. Frequented by thousands of daily commuters who arrive via its labyrinthian subway system, Times Square/42nd Street is intimately linked to the entire metropolitan region. It has been, as its name designates, the location of great newspaper and radio headquarters. But at this very moment in time, Times Square/42nd Street has been rendered by Disney and turned into a wax museum with the likes of Madame Tussaud. It is regulated by guidelines that call for a requisite number of Lutses (Light Units in Times Square) and controlled by urban designers who have planned its spontaneous unplannedness. Times Square/42nd Street has become Disney’s “New York Land.” Patrolled by private policemen, its garbage picked up by private collectors, and its signage refurbished by private allocations – under the general guidelines set down by its Business Investment District (BID) – it is as clean and pure as a whistle.