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Everyone in the book business knows W.G. Rogers through his syndicated book column. That music was his second love is not surprising. And to both authors, Times Square is the crossroads of their daily interests and activities. One might have hoped that their book- written to their own needs- might have captured more of the spell, despite the inevitability of recognizing and regretting the tinsel. But somehow this seems to have missed fire. The analogy with which they launch its story stretches things a bit as the authors manage to find the forerunners of today's Times Square sightseers greeting the discoverer of New York Harbor in 1524. They trace the historical events which took place on that spot from Revolutionary days to the growth of the area during the 19th century and the construction of the Crystal Palace in Madison Square. But it wasn't until 1895, when Oscar Hammerstein opened his Olympia Music Hall, that Times Square, then called Longacre Square, began to take on its present character. Times Square was formally given its name in 1904 when the Rapid Transit was designating its station stops. The authors discuss the industry which has ""done the most"" for Broadway -- the movies, the Square's mammoth electric advertising, its real estate value (not the highest in the city), its famous restaurants and meeting places, its chief criminals in former days, and the various disreputable types found congregating now in Times Square. There's nothing here of any compelling reading value in spite of what should be a naturally dramatic subject. And as for presenting a picture of the present deplorable state of Times Square: it was done much better in a recent feature of the N. Y. Times.

Publisher: Doubleday