Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon

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The spectacularly successful transformation of Times Square has become a model for other cities. From its beginning as Longacre Square, Times Square's commercialism, signage, cultural diversity, and social tolerance have been deeply embedded in New York City's psyche. Its symbolic role guaranteed that any plan for its renewal would push the hot buttons of public controversy: free speech,property-taking through eminent domain, development density, tax subsidy, and historic preservation.In Times Square Roulette, Lynne Sagalyn debunks the myth of an overnight urban miracle performed by Disney and Mayor Giuliani, to tell the far more complex and commanding tale of a twenty-year process of public controversy, nonstop litigation, and interminable delay. She tells how the troubled execution of the original redevelopment plan provided a rare opportunity to rescript it. And timing was all: the mid-1990s saw rising international corporate interest in the city as a mecca for mass-market entertainment and synergistic merchandising. Sagalyn details the complex relationship between planning and politics and the role of market forces in shaping Times Square's redevelopment opportunities. She shows how policy was wedded to deal making and how persistent individuals and groups forged both.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If, as Lynne Sagalyn asserts, 'the deal is in the details,' then this book is the real deal." Alexander J. Reichl Architecture

"... Magisterially copious..." James Gardner New York Sun

"... masterly... full of eye-opening material." Adam Gopnik The New Yorker

Publishers Weekly
Lynne B. Sagalyn, director of the MBA real estate program at Columbia University's business school, explores the underpinnings of New York's concerted mid-1990s gentrification efforts in Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon. Alongside the usual suspects Giuliani, Disney, the ousted peep shows and porn venues Sagalyn places Koch, the Broadway Association, "maverick realtor" Irving Maidman, Frederic S. Papert and his not-for-profit 42nd Street Development Corp., and a host of other major and minor players in the continual plans for redeveloping Times Square. By the 1960s, '70s and '80s, the area had become a blatant symbol of the decline of urban America, a far cry from its glory days in the 1920s as the pinnacle of theatrical couture. On the other hand, when redevelopment plans threatened too drastic a face-lift, critics waxed nostalgic about "the symbolic soul of New York." The jumble of symbolisms, politics, policies and business plans characterizing 20th-century 42nd Street has never before been subject to such thorough and perspicacious scrutiny. 175 illus., 25 in color. (Dec.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262692953
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 638
  • Sales rank: 1,020,730
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne B. Sagalyn is the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Director of the MBA Real Estate Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

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Table of Contents

Preface viii
Part I Planning: Creating Agents of Change 1
1 Staging a Transformation 2
2 The Late Great White Way 30
3 The Public Takes Charge 68
4 Deals for Development 104
5 The Open Tab 134
Part II Implementation: The Politics of Complex Ambitions 169
6 Troubled Execution 170
7 The Litigation Trap 206
8 Rescripting Renewal 238
9 Inventing an Entertainment Agenda 276
10 Business Buys Broadway 308
11 Disney Deliverance 338
Part III Policy Scorecard: Assessing the Gamble 373
12 The Reluctant Risk Taker 374
13 Quiescent Policy Dilemmas 408
14 The Messages of Renewal 442
Epilogue 476
Notes 490
Bibliography 562
Appendixes 590
A List of Abbreviations 591
B Executive Administrations 593
C Policy Strategies and Public Actions to Improve Conditions in Times Square 594
D Chronology of the Redevelopment of Times Square and West 42nd Street 597
E Formal and Informal Points of Accountability 602
F New Private Investment on West 42nd Street 605
Index 606
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