One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World

Joe McKendry, Author, Joe McKendry, Illustrator
Joe McKendry. Godine, $19.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-56792-364-3
Reviewed on: 08/20/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
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In this spectacular album of crisp sketches and meticulous paintings styled after archival and current photographs, McKendry (Beneath the Streets of Boston) serves up a fascinating biography of One Times Square, the longstanding building at the heart of Manhattan. McKendry chronicles the development of the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue from its earliest incarnation as Long Acre Square, home to "[c]arriage builders, livery stables, and a few coal yards," to a lively hub for theater, crime-ridden neighborhood, and contemporary rebirth as an entertainment attraction and advertising mecca. And from 1904 till present, One Times Square both witnessed and adapted to change (it's now "an empty shell," completely covered with billboards). Architecture and history buffs—and, really, anyone with a sense of curiosity—will relish McKendry's visual approach: he describes and points out structures in labeled silhouettes on one page, then follows with fully rendered street scenes, offering context for the buildings. Insider details abound in explanations of the magic behind some memorable billboards, the light bulbs used for the famous moving "Zipper" news bulletin, and the ball that drops on New Year's Eve. Ages 6–10. (Sept.)
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