110 Years Ago, Times Square Got Its Name: Celebrate by Browsing Old Photos of NYC

Thanks to a new release of images from the New York City Municipal Archives, you can see what the city looked like before it was consumed by neon

men on cars
Men riding on the back of a car, 1940. NYCMA

One hundred and ten years ago this week, Times Square officially got its famous name.* Before April 9th, 1904, the square’s name was Long Acre Square. But, on the recommendation of Rapid Transit Commission and of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, the square got a new name when it got a new subway station—there were too many 42nd Street stops elsewhere in the city. 

And now, thanks to a new release of images from the New York City Municipal Archives, you can see what the square looked like before it was consumed by neon—and what the rest of the city looked like back in the day.

*This post and headline originally put the date at 100 years ago, because we still want to believe it's 2004, apparently.

Times Square, 1938
A 1904 meeting at City Hall during a discussion of the subway system.
The original City Hall subway station, 1904.
Men digging the South Tunnel of the Holland Tunnel, 1927.
Women at the Institute for Adult Education at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, 1934.
Mayor LaGuardia smashes a slot machine, as part of his attempt to destroy the slot machine racket, 1934.
The Police Department’s baseball team, 1941.
A roller skating competition in Central Park, 1958.