On the Town: One Hundred Years of Spectacle in Times Square

From the publisher:

This title presents a pulsating history of Times Square and its iconic role in America’s society of the spectacle. Described as ‘a continuous carnival’ and ‘the crossroads of the world’, Times Square is a singular phenomenon: the spot where imagination and veracity intersect. To Marshall Berman, it is also the flashing, teeming, and strangely beautiful nexus of his life. In this remarkable book, Berman takes us on a thrilling illustrated tour of Times Square, revealing a landscape both mythic and real. Interleafing his own recollections with social commentary, he reveals how movies, graphic arts, literature, popular music, television, and, of course, the Broadway theater have reflected Times Square’s voluminous light to illuminate a vast spectrum of themes and vignettes. Berman shows how the Square’s distinctive aura finds its source in a stunningly diverse list of performers, writers, and impresarios. He also celebrates the unsung heroes – the artists, engineers, and hucksters behind the square’s landmark signs. Part love letter, part revelatory exposition of a place known to all, “On the Town” is a nonstop excursion to the heart of American civilization, written by one of our keenest, most entertaining cultural observers.

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