Goff and Howard Public Relations / Public Affairs Logo

Monday, December 7, 2009

This month in history: Neon invades the Big Apple

Can you imagine a time when New York City’s most famous landmark, Times Square, was just another intersection? When the square’s sidewalks were not bustling with thousands of people swarming the sidewalks? When the building’s towering exteriors were not covered in bright, flashing advertisements?

As hard as it is to imagine, New York City used to be farm land, and Times Square was just another place where horses grazed. When colonists settled the area, they established the city, and by the late nineteenth century, the area had grown into a bustling metropolis. When the New York Times moved to the intersection in 1904, the intersection became known as Times Square. Just three weeks later, the first electric advertisement graced the building’s side, and the first advertisement with scrolling script shone light up the intersection in 1928. Now, dazzling neon displays saturate the night skyline, leaving awestruck tourists wishing they had worn sunglasses at night.

Times Square has grown to be one of the many symbols that represent America and capitalism at its finest. The scrolling text introduced in 1928 that flashes news headlines and stock figures around the square was a technology that signaled a new era of electronic communications – an era that was just beginning to take America by storm.