8. New Amsterdam Theater

The New Amsterdam Theater is the birthplace of the famous Ziegfeld Follies and an example of how much Times Square has changed. Hit hard by the Great Depression, in 1937 the theater was converted to screen movies. The quality of entertainment gradually fell and by the 1960s and 1970s the theater was showing genre films and low-budget flicks. The theater was eventually abandoned in the 1980s.

In 1992, as part of the 42nd Street redevelopment project, New York City bought the theater. It was then acquired by the Walt Disney Company. Bringing in the renowned family friendly brand with a squeaky clean image was a major catalyst in turning the tide of 42nd Street, but the transition wasn’t easy. Before the purchase, the Disney company made a series of demands which greatly affected the rest of 42nd Street’s development and exerted its influence on the design and operations of other business that were coming to the block. In 1997 the Lion King debuted at the New Amsterdam and the theater has continued to show stage productions of Disney’s most beloved family films.