A night in Times Square, 1910

SundayMagazine.org, which reprints hundred-year-old articles from the NYT Sunday Magazine, has a corker this week: an account of an overnight stay in Times Square, 1910:

Since 8 o'clock or before, building hope on the generosity of the theatregoing crowd the [homeless man wearing a] bundle of rags has been squatting in its corner, forcing out wheezy sounds from its wretched concertina. Before it, massing on the pavements, dashing across the street in front of whizzing motors and clattering caps, the panorama of Broadway has been unfolded — that panorama of strange contrasts, with its luxury and pseudo luxury, to bring envy to the snapping point. But such a one as this, the bundle of rags aforesaid, has lost the spirit to be envious. At least a pallid hope, a sort of anaemic longing, that an occasional nickel will be dropped into the cup, mistaken in the darkness for a penny…

Three or four blocks up the street a string band is still playing away for a dozen or more couples who will not forsake the rather Bohemian restaurant until the gray of dawn, and who now, under the inspiration of their wine, are whooping it up in songs, telling silly stories, or retailing unpleasant gossip.

But in the big hotels, the Knickerbocker across the way, and the Astor, the fiddles have had time to get into a deep sleep, the lights in the grill are out, chairs are banked on the tables, and the sweepers are already busy in the lobby getting ready for another day…

But does Times Square ever sleep?

It never really does.

Night In A Fascinating Square That Never Sleeps

(Thanks, David!)