Travelers long ago who journeyed the dusty Bloomingdale Road (present Broadway) from lower Manhattan into the countryside often would pause to quench their thirst. A spring once bubbled on a site now occupied by buildings at Broadway and 45th Street.
Not far from this location is Father Duffy Square. It is a triangle between 45th and 47th streets and Broadway and Seventh Avenue. The park is defined by statues of entertainer George M. Cohan and Chaplain Francis P. Duffy of New York's “Fighting 69th” Infantry Regiment.
Revolutionaries And Showmen
This site is the approximate location of a meeting between General George Washington and General Israel Putnam, possibly at Frogg Hall, the house of Daniel Horsmanden that was located along present 44th Street west of Broadway. Putnam and his garrison were retreating from British regulars. Washington, meanwhile, with staff and troops, rushed from headquarters at the Apthorp House (near Columbus Avenue and 91st Street) to provide assistance.
Through the mid-1800s, this area of Manhattan was settled sparsely. Growth was stimulated when showmen, including Oscar Hammerstein, moved uptown and purchased the east side of Broadway between 44th and 45th streets for the construction of Olympia Music Hall. With such a successful venue, other businessmen erected restaurants (Rector’s, Shanley’s and Reisenweber’s), the Astor Hotel, theaters and other commercial operations.
For many years, the entire area was known to New Yorkers as Longacre Square. After The New York Times also moved uptown and erected its headquarters building during 1904, the location popularly became known as Times Square. Since that time, on each New Year's Eve, about 200,000 people crowd the square to celebrate the beginning of a new year in an section of Manhattan that was the scene of contention during the Revolutionary War, where today's theater district began and where a once great conservative newspaper dominated the headlines.