Herald Square is today known for many things. There’s the flagship Macy’s department store and the pedestrianized part of Broadway that extends to Times Square. And it serves as an epicenter of the retail corridor that now runs from 5th Avenue to 7th Avenue. Some may remember the song, “Give My Regards to Broadway,” from the George M. Cohan musical Little Johnny Jones with the iconic line, “Remember me to Herald Square. ” But written in 1904, “Give My Regards to Broadway” references a very different Herald Square than the one we’re familiar with today.
Herald Square had its beginnings in 1846, when the city acquired the area for the extension of Bloomingdale Road, now Broadway. Its name comes from an architecturally distinctive building that once sat at the intersection of Broadway and Sixth Avenue: The New York Herald Building. Newspaper Row had traditionally been located downtown in lower Manhattan on Park Row, where heavy hitters like The New York Times, New York Tribune, and The New York World were all headquartered.
For The New York Herald to move from Newspaper Row to Herald Square in the 1890s was a bold and surprising move, commandeered by James Gordon Bennett Jr., the playboy son of The Herald founder. But given the newspaper’s penchant for sensationalist news (like the well-known Central Park Zoo hoax), perhaps it was only fitting. The new headquarters were designed by New York City architectural darling Stanford White, in a very close copy to the Renaissance Palazzo del Consiglio in Verona.