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Inventing Times Square: Commerce and Culture at the Crossroads of the World
     

Inventing Times Square: Commerce and Culture at the Crossroads of the World

by William R. Taylor
 

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A unique volume, Inventing Times Square approaches the subject of twentieth-century American city culture through a multidimensional examination of one quintessential urban space: Times Square. Ranging in time from 1905, when the crossroad was given its present name, through to the current plans for redevelopment, the authors examine Times Square as

Overview

A unique volume, Inventing Times Square approaches the subject of twentieth-century American city culture through a multidimensional examination of one quintessential urban space: Times Square. Ranging in time from 1905, when the crossroad was given its present name, through to the current plans for redevelopment, the authors examine Times Square as economic hub, real estate bonanza, entertainment center, advertising medium, architectural experiment, and erotic netherworld. Though the volume centers on Times Square, the essays venture much further into urban history and American social history, revealing in the process how Times Square reflected—even epitomized—America as it became an urban consumer culture.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
A portrait of pre-World War II America in good-natured upheaval, shaking off convention and inventing and reinventing an unpredictable 'commercial culture.'.

Los Angeles Times
This is a rather astonishing effort—the collective brainpower focused on the subject fairly guarantees that every little corner of the square's history will be illuminated for the reader.

Journal of American History
The range of topics is enormous, from the strategies of city planners and real estate entrepreneurs to the tactics of cultural resistance employed by homosexuals and by retailers of commercial popular culture.

Library Journal
In this book, Times Square, world-renowned center of New York City's entertainment district, is examined in its many facets by a group of critics and academic scholars. They have put together an account of American popular culture, as exemplified by Times Square, from a time of vivid change before World War I when Times Square was at the height of its fame and influence through the district's eventual decline after the Great Depression of the 1930s. The contributors explore in depth the convergence of the social and economic forces and the cultural institutions that made Times Square a national cultural marketplace wielding great influence in the nation's theatrical business, in the Hollywood film industry, and in the national radio networks. Recommended for popular culture and academic urban affairs collections.-- Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., CUNY
Booknews
Visiting Times Square, from its christening in 1905 to its eventual decline after the Depression, this collection of contributed essays is a vibrant cultural history illuminating the impact of social and economic forces on Forty-second Street over time. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801853371
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
04/28/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

What People are Saying About This

Lawrence W. Levine
No other work does so much to put Times Square into historical perspective both as a geographical space—an actual entity—and as a cultural symbol of central importance.

Meet the Author

William Taylor has taught at Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Chicago, and the State University of New York-Stony Brook. A fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities, he is the author of In Pursuit of Gotham and Cavalier and Yankee.

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