America is often defined by Times Square. After all, this is the famous location of the dropping of the ball on New Year’s Eve. With such a famous designation, it’s only reasonable that Americans would want their country to be represented by something decent. Not as it was for years, a seedy, littered, crime-ridden district.
Times Square, New York at one time was littered with sex clubs and porn shops. One of the most notorious establishments in Times Square could be considered the Gaiety Theatre. This was a male strip club that operated in Times Square for more than thirty years. When they officially closed their doors recently, the Disneyfication of Times Square was considered to be nearly complete.
The decline of Times Square began with the Great Depression, however the original opening of The Gaiety Theatre ushered in hustlers, tourists and individuals of the gay variety. With them, sex clubs opened up and porn movies became popular in this section of New York. Once these establishments took hold in Times Square, the crime rate skyrocketed and people began to avoid this area. After a bit, it began to be considered one of the seedier places to be in New York.
This was presenting a very bad image for New York. With the newly formed Giuliani administration, they swooped in and began enforcing laws that encouraged a higher quality of life for people. By doing this they were able to begin shutting down many of the sex themed establishments. They worked to drive out the people who encouraged sex solicitation and shops. The only drawback was that in people’s minds, it still had a reputation of being a place to avoid. So the biggest hurdle New York had was to show the world that Times Square had indeed changed for the better. Police worked to clean up the streets and brought the crime rate down dramatically.
It wasn’t until the Amsterdam Theatre was closed and transformed into the Disney Theatre that Times Square began to share the Disney name synonymously, then people started to associate Times Square with the “family oriented theme park” kind of mentality. With that association they began to feel that Times Square would also be subject to the Disney type of regulations as they have in their parks.
With the gradual closings of the gay clubs, porn shops and sex establishments, Time Square began to build up a more wholesome image but it took time. These shops weren’t eliminated immediately, it took time and a lot of effort on the parts of many individuals. The upgrading of Times Square was considered a complete success once the last remaining establishment that had such a stronghold on this New York crossroads was officially closed.
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