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If you found yourself in the middle of Herald Square, a little over one hundred years ago, it wouldn’t be completely uncommon for you to hear this all too familiar phrase being shouted.
Picture this: a bright eyed newsboy with his cap pulled low with a freshly printed newspaper in his hand.
The intersection that can found at Broadway and Sixth Avenue was named after the famous newspaper- the New York Herald. Newspapers like, Time, Daily News and New York Post have replaced their predecessor but the history lives on. What is now famously known as Herald Square, gained its name from the famous New York Herald Building.
By the 1890’s and entering into the turn of the century, Herald Square looked quite different in comparison to the bustling retail haven it is now. What is now riddled with stores porting the latest trends, park benches where you can sit and enjoy lunch, a few subway stations and gridlocked cars, was actually a square containing a busy bustling rail car, elevated train , theaters and plenty of places to eat, drinks and be merry.
Exploring the New York Herald Building
The turn of the century in New York City brought about many things. One of those things was the famous New York Herald building erected in 1894 by architects McKim, Mead and White. Located at West 35th street and 6th avenue, Richard Guy describes the building composed of steel frame and masonry cladding as “…an example of the selection of an exterior form that serves as an envelope and almost completely contradicts the interior…. …A perfectly circular entrance lobby contrasted with the remainder of the interior, but gave to the visitor a sense of order, the same order that the harmonious exterior gave to the irregular site and the surrounding disorder of the city.” (McKim, Mead & White Architects. New York: Rizzoli, 1983. p50-51.)
Within the walls of this monstrous building laid the beginnings of stories that were ripe with sensationalism. Fabrications of scandal and crime were often rolled out by the newspaper, but that’s another story.
Keeping on Track
At one point in time, an elevated railway ran directly down the middle of the notorious square. Today this area has been turned into a social venue where food fairs and markets are held. Potted plants and string lights decorate the historic area and now is well known and sought after during the coveted lunch hour in NYC.
Herald Square draws more than 2 million visitors annually. That’s a lot of foot traffic in today’s standards. Comparably speaking, things weren’t that different over 100 years ago in terms of foot traffic and persons visiting the area. From the 1950’s to 1990’s, Herald Square was the home to the well -known department store Macy’s and the now-closed Gimbel’s. Macy’s humble beginnings began on 14th street when Rowland Hussey Macy officially opened Macy’s for business in 1858. After a fairly successful couple of years, the news of the growth of retail uptown caused Macy to make the move that would mark his legacy. In 1902, Herald Square became Macy’s new home. Today, Macy’s is considered one of the main attractions for visitors all over the world. Macy’s is the neighbor to over 100 small businesses, restaurants, deli’s and after work pubs in one of New York City ’s prominent and well-known town squares.
Look out every week for our Street Evolution series! KPA profiles well-known landmarks and streets within New York City.
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