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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.

    1. 1898

    Getty Images Hulton Archive

    Here's the intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street back when it was known as Longacre Square.

    2. 1904

    Getty Images FPG

    This photo was taken shortly after the Times Tower was built and the intersection became known as Times Square. That's the Astor Hotel on the right.

    3. 1916

    Getty Images Edwin Levick

    You can see the New Amsterdam Theater on the left and the Rialto on the right.

    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.

    5. Circa 1927

    Getty Images Hulton Archive

    This photo was taken looking uptown from 43rd Street. There's a lot more car traffic at this point.

    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.

    7. 1938

    Getty Images Lass

    This shot is looking uptown along Broadway and 7th Avenue. Some gorgeous neon signage in this shot.

    8. 1945

    Getty Images Lawrence Thornton

    These people are celebrating V. E. Day on May 7th 1945.

    9. 1950

    Getty Images Orlando

    Just a business dude chilling out by a streetlight.

    10. 1953

    Getty Images Hulton Archive

    Here's a lot of great theater marquees along West 42nd Street.

    11. 1956

    Getty Images Hulton Archive

    Neon lights at night. You definitely get a better sense of the vibe there with a color image.

    12. 1961

    By SAS Scandinavian Airlines ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons / Via

    Just a few years later, in broad daylight. Some great vintage signage in this shot.

    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.

    14. 1973

    Dan McCoy / Via

    Ooooooh, hey, stop the car! Young Nympho is playing in full color!

    15. 1975

    Getty Images Peter Keegan

    The neighborhood has really committed to a full-on sleazy vibe at this point in time.

    16. 1977

    Derzsi Elekes Andor / Via

    Just a casual afternoon in the late '70s. Maybe this dude is about to cross the street to catch a matinee of Smokey and the Bandit.

    17. 1980

    Getty Images David Herman

    The Pussycat was a porno theater on 42nd Street. The marquee is advertising Insatiable starring Marilyn Chambers.

    18. 1981

    Vaticanus / Via Flickr: vaticanus

    "Sadism, gore, and extreme violence. Vain, brutal, extravagant." Hmm, yes, one for Caligula, please!

    19. 1985

    Getty Images George Freston

    That Howard Johnson's was in Times Square for 46 years, from 1959 through 2005.

    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.)

    21. 1993

    arco_on_tour / Via

    And just a few years later, it's back to regular Coca-Cola, or as it was marketed at the time, "Coca-Cola Classic."

    22. 1995

    AFP / Getty Images HENNY RAY ABRAMS

    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

    AFP / Getty Images TIMOTHY A. CLARY

    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.

    26. 2008

    Javier Gutierrez Acedo / Via Flickr: javigutierrez

    The Virgin Megastore, which you can see around the center of this shot, was closed a year later. It was replaced by a Forever 21.

    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.

    28. 2015

    Alky Jones / Via Flickr: alkyjones

    And here's Times Square today. Totally overrun with dudes in Elmo suits.

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