New York Today: Transforming Times Square

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Keeping pace in

Good morning on this sticky Monday.

Times Square, that hourglass-shaped patch of our metropolis, has lived many lives: as a lackluster commercial district, a swanky cultural hub, a bustling agora, a sanctuary of sleaze, a core of crime, and a billion-watt neon circus.

Its iconography is just as varied, from the jubilation of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s V-J Day kiss to the bleak opening sequence of “Taxi Driver.”

It wasn’t even always called Times Square. That moniker came in 1904, when a certain newspaper moved into the neighborhood.

“Its meanings have changed,” the author James Traub once wrote of Times Square, “but the sense of its centrality has not.”

On Times Square’s busiest days, more than 460,000 pedestrians pass through the area sometimes called “the heart of the world.”

Still, the square may transform again: Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering digging up its pedestrian plazas and banning its topless models, who are known as desnudas.

See Today’s Weather, Commute and More »

Karsten Moran for The New York Times
In New York, Testing Grounds for Community Policing
The 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway, a low-income neighborhood wary of the police, has seen halting progress as the department seeks to reshape everyday interactions between officers and residents.

Brayan, 16, at the Central American Refugee Center in Hempstead, N.Y. Brayan fled El Salvador and entered the United States last year.

Andrew Renneisen for The New York Times

Immigration Crisis Shifts From Border to Courts

After fleeing violence in their Central American homelands, thousands of minors are crowding courtrooms in New York City and Long Island that are ill equipped to handle the volume.

More News
2 Bodies Found After Fire in a Debris-Filled Home in Far Rockaway

Seeking Equality, Not Tips, Topless Marchers Draw a Crowd in Manhattan

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Letitia James after addressing a graduation at an intermediate school in June.

Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

Letitia James’s Ease in the Courtroom Informs Her Role as Public Advocate

Ms. James has filed more lawsuits against mostly city agencies than her three immediate predecessors combined over 20 years.

Chicago's State Street being prepared for car traffic in 1996.

Todd Buchanan for The New York Times

Debating Value of Pedestrian Plazas Beyond New York City

Bill de Blasio is not the first mayor to wrestle with the consequences of turning streets into pedestrian spaces.

Grace Notes
Ed Schmidt, a playwright, performer and high school basketball coach, is using a locker room at the Nord Anglia International School in Manhattan as a stage for his one-man show.

Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

A Basketball Life, Shown From a High School Locker Room

Ed Schmidt, a playwright and performer known for staging productions inside his home, is using the former site of La Salle Academy in the East Village for his latest one-man show.

. More Grace Notes Columns

Mets starter Logan Verrett in the first inning against the Rockies. Verrett made his first career start Sunday, giving Matt Harvey a rest.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Mets 5, Rockies 1
As Harvey got the day off as part of a plan to limit his innings, Verrett, a rookie, held the Rockies to one run and four hits in eight innings.

Andy Pettitte, second from left, with his former teammates, from left, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter during Sunday's ceremony in which the Yankees retired Pettitte's No. 46 and placed his plaque in Monument Park.

Kathy Willens/Associated Press
Indians 4, Yankees 3
Shortly after Pettitte saw his No. 46 retired and a plaque dedicated to him at Monument Park, another onetime Yankees ace trudged off the mound toward an uncertain future.


Grace Jones was the headliner at the Afropunk Festival.

Nicole Fara Silver for The New York Times

Review: Grace Jones Headlines a Bold Afropunk Festival Lineup

Ms. Jones has an enterprise that is bold, honest, provocative and peaceful, like the two-day festival in Brooklyn that she was headlining.

Christian Finnegan of the Free Standup Festival.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Comedy Festivals in New York That Focus on the Eclectic

For the founders of these DIY festivals, New York’s deep pool of talent is what they say helps them thrive.

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