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28 Photos That Show How Much Times Square Has Changed

From pornos to Elmos. This post actually doubles as a history of outdoor advertising.

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4. 1921

Getty Images Edwin Levick

Times Square as seen from 45th Street. The Times Square we know today is taking shape around this time. Those are street car tracks in the foreground.

6. 1935

Getty Images Frederic Lewis

Lots of still-familiar brands advertising in Times Square at this time – Chevrolet, Wrigley's chewing gum, Coca-Cola, and Camel cigarettes.


13. 1966

Getty Images Leo Vals

There's a great moody, late night vibe to this shot. You could make a night of buying sporting goods at Modell's, walking down the block to get a steak for dinner, and then heading across the street to catch a late show of Queen of Blood.


20. 1989

Joe Shlabotnik / Via Flickr: joeshlabotnik

Here's some folks posing in late '80s Times Square. Diet Coke is being advertised instead of regular Coca-Cola, which was being marketed as Coke at the time. (Or "New Coke," as it's known today.)

22. 1995


This photo was taken nearly two years into the Giuliani era. The character of the neighborhood has changed quite a bit at this point, and the "Disneyfiction" of the area was well under way.


23. 1999


Times Square on December 31st, 1999. The tradition of having a big celebration and the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve dates back to 1907. A good number of the people in this image were definitely paranoid about the Y2K bug.

24. 2002

Getty Images

Times Square was frequently crowded in the late '90s and early '00s with pop music fans who hung around outside the MTV studio on 1515 Broadway for daily tapings of TRL. This photo was shot at a taping of a live performance by Bon Jovi for an event celebrating the beginning of the 2002 NFL season.

25. 2004

Getty Images Stephen Chernin

Here's a relatively chill midday moment in Times Square a full century after it got its name. You can spot a lot of brands who've been advertising in the area for generations.

27. 2012

Neo II / Via Flickr: neo_ii

Here's Times Square a few years after Mayor Michael Bloomberg permanently transformed much of the area into a pedestrian plaza, and one year after an outdoor smoking ban was passed.


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