West 42nd Street Looking East Towards Times Square
This postcard view taken by Irving Underhill is undated, but a little detective work led to the date of 1927. Along 42nd Street is a billboard for the movie King of Kings. Further down the block a movie marquee advertises the film 7th Heaven, both released in 1927
In this photograph of West 42nd Street the tallest structure visible is the Paramount Building on the left also completed in 1927. The building once housed the Paramount Theatre.
In front of the Paramount Building is the New York Times Annex Building on 43rd Street which became the main headquarters of the newspaper for the remainder of the 20th century. The reason for the move was that the Times rapidly outgrew the building that it built for itself in 1905 at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue on 42nd Street seen to the right of the Paramount Building.
That original New York Times Building where the ball has been dropped for New Year’s Eve for over a century is why the area is called Times Square. Before the Times relocated from Park Row, Times Square was known as Long Acre Square.
Long Acre Square lives on in one peculiar way: there are still many phone numbers in the area that begin with the numbers 56 which translate to L and O on a telephone dial, now called a keypad.
LO is the prefix for Long Acre during the time when phone numbers were assigned by neighborhood in New York. The first two numbers corresponded to the neighborhood you were in. Some better known examples are BU for Butterfield (28) on the upper east side or GR (47) for Gramercy and the Gramercy Park area and PE (73) for Pennsylvania Station.
Butterfield 8 or PEnnsylvania 6-5000. Anybody?