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New York's 'Times Square' Turns 100

Cover of 'Devil's Playground,' by James Traub
Cover of 'Devil's Playground,' by James Traub

With New York's Time Square set to mark its 100th anniversary April 8, James Traub's new book The Devil’s Playground traces the history of one of the most legendary spots in the Big Apple.

Times Square has been many things over the years: posh nightlife district, troubled crime zone, and corporate soapbox. It has been called the center of the world, the place where commerce and art meet in their rawest forms.

Now the seedy flavor of Times Square that had developed over decades has been dissipated, by big business and a campaign launched by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to clean it up. As the centennial of the famed crossroads nears, many in the city worry over its present -- and future -- state.

NPR's Howard Berkes goes along with Traub, a longtime New York resident, to visit the midtown Manhattan intesection and discuss its history and character.

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Howard Berkes is a correspondent for the NPR Investigations Unit.
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