Today’s Times Square is known as the iconic tourist destination of New York, becoming the most visited place on the globe and attracting over 131 million visitors a year.

But before it became home to Broadway shows, chain restaurants, and television studios, it spent the latter half of the 20th century as the symbol of New York’s decay.

Initially arising as a cultural center of theaters, music halls, and boutique hotels, Times Square fell into disrepair during the Great Depression. Adult theaters and sex shops then took over while the neighborhood became an open market for prostitution and drugs.

By 1984, Times Square was one of the most dangerous areas of the city, with over 2,300 crimes committed every year in a one-block radius. We look at this Times Square of yesteryear, where chaos and seediness reigned supreme:

Peep
Times Square Movie Theaters
Capri
Times Square Prostitute
Peep Shows, Sex, And Crack: 27 Photos Of Times Square At Its Lowest
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For more of Times Square, watch this gripping 40-minute video, "Doin' Time In Times Square," dubbed "the home video from hell," shot by director and artist Charlie Ahearn from his Times Square apartment in the 1980s:


Enjoy this look at the seedier incarnations of Times Square? Then check out these 1970s New York photos and some staggering images of the New York City subway in the 1980s.

Alec
Alec is the founder of the PBH Network and has become lethal at Trivial Pursuit thanks to All That Is Interesting.
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