8. For those too young to remember, Times Square was once filled with sex shops

Gregoire Alessandrini-Times Square-1990s-NYC

1993-1998, photo by Gregoire Alessandrini 

It is ironic then that the world’s arguably most commercial space used to be a haven for the city’s misfits. In the 1970s and ’80s, Times Square was haunted by prostitutes, drug dealers, and other undesirables. The stretch of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th avenues, now home to an AMC multiplex and Disney’s New Amsterdam Theater, was once lined with theaters of the pornographic variety.

Artist Nayland Blake, who curated an exhibit at the International Center of Photography on the subject last year remembers going into the Victory Theater, one of Times Square’s pleasure palaces, only to step down into the front rows of the cinema and discover that he was literally knee deep in water. The place was partially flooded and no one even bothered to pause the movie!