Opinion | Times Square Will Return. It Has Before.

To the Editor:

Re “If There Are No Crowds, Is It Still Times Square?” (front page, Dec. 1):

On New Year’s Eve 1991, when the Times Square Business Improvement District (now Alliance) began operations, you could have written “With Filth and Crime, Can Times Square Ever Be Times Square Again?”

A third of all hotel rooms were empty; many theaters were dark; several iconic office buildings, including One Times Square, which owns “the ball,” were bankrupt; and megastores had not yet arrived.

The sidewalks were repugnant, petty crime was rampant, and Times Square’s international reputation was in the gutter. But it did come back, and there’s a lesson to be learned.

It took a vibrant public-private partnership, great imagination and total agreement that if quality-of-life issues were addressed, and theaters and supersigns were preserved, word would get out that Times Square could come back.

It can happen. We’ve been there before.

Gretchen Dykstra
Cold Spring, N.Y.
The writer was the founding president of the Times Square Alliance.

To the Editor:

There is an undeniable symbiosis between the daily crowds and Times Square. The palpable vibrancy and energy that ensue when visitors from all walks of life converge on the square are just not the same when it is virtually empty.

Let’s hope for better days ahead when the hustle and bustle once again return to the iconic crossroads of America.

Mark Godes
Chelsea, Mass.

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