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Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon Paperback – August 29, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 638 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (August 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262692953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262692953
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lynne B. Sagalyn, director of the MBA real estate program at Columbia University's business school, explores the underpinnings of New York's concerted mid-1990s gentrification efforts in Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon. Alongside the usual suspects Giuliani, Disney, the ousted peep shows and porn venues Sagalyn places Koch, the Broadway Association, "maverick realtor" Irving Maidman, Frederic S. Papert and his not-for-profit 42nd Street Development Corp., and a host of other major and minor players in the continual plans for redeveloping Times Square. By the 1960s, '70s and '80s, the area had become a blatant symbol of the decline of urban America, a far cry from its glory days in the 1920s as the pinnacle of theatrical couture. On the other hand, when redevelopment plans threatened too drastic a face-lift, critics waxed nostalgic about "the symbolic soul of New York." The jumble of symbolisms, politics, policies and business plans characterizing 20th-century 42nd Street has never before been subject to such thorough and perspicacious scrutiny. 175 illus., 25 in color.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Sagalyn has a terrific story to tell, and she tells it with a remarkable mix of local color and analytic sophistication. She has a deep understanding of politics, economics, corporate and public finance, city planning, and urban design; and she integrates them gracefully throughout."--Alan Altshuler, Director, Taubman Center for State and Local Government, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"If, as Lynne Sagalyn asserts, 'the deal is in the details,' then this book is the real deal." Alexander J. Reichl Architecture

"... Magisterially copious..." James Gardner New York Sun

"... masterly... full of eye-opening material." Adam Gopnik The New Yorker

"In Times Square Roulette, Lynne B. Sagalyn has accomplished the extraordinary feat of presenting a balanced, sophisticated, and definitive account of one of the nation's most-watched urban turnarounds. She brilliantly blends intriguing historical narrative with careful financial and political analysis to capture the excitement, complexity, and dynamism of the large-scale public-private partnerships that are at the heart of today's remarkable city revival. This is a great story!"--Eugenie L. Birch, Professor and Chair, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania

"Lynne Sagalyn has analyzed the remaking of 42nd Street with extraordinary diligence and insight. A must read for New York City aficionados."--Edward I. Koch, former mayor of New York City

"The self-styled 'crossroads of the world,' Times Square has always been different from the entertainment districts of other American cities--bigger, louder, more crowded, and even more depraved. The battle for its future, as well as its past, has been complex and confused, but has never been explained with more clarity and power than by Lynne Sagalyn."--Kenneth T. Jackson, President, The New York Historical Society, and Editor-in-Chief, The Encyclopedia of New York City

"A compelling and timely account of development politics and policy in New York. With balance, insight, and terrific writing, Times Square Roulette explains the complicated process of city building and in newly revealing ways sheds light on the dynamics of public-private real estate ventures in New York. Real Estate professionals, students, city residents, and others who love cities have much to gain by reading Sagalyn's telling account of one of the city's great transformations."--Jerry I. Speyer, President and CEO, Tishman Speyer Properties

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The story of how Times Square, and, in particular, 42nd Street, was finally rescued is fascinating, but it's blurred in this treatment. Sagalyn is an academic, and unfortunately, it shows. It reads like a long series of New York Times Arts & Leisure section essays by a critic. All the info is in there, but it's somewhat exhausting to wade through. One suspects the same info could have been delivered more elegantly in half the number of words.
Given the rather expensive price, wait to see whether there's a paperback version. But anyone who's interested in the history and development of NYC will find it worthwhile.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone who wants to undertand the logistical, step-by-step process which brought forth the transformation of Times Square to what it is today, this book is a must read. Indeed, it's a lengthy read but worthwhile one in all respects for the reader who seeks to understand the private/public partnerships and economic forces which resulted in Times Square's renaissance. It's not for those with short attention spans or a preoccupation with the predominate purient activities which formerly defined that district of NYC. The book is well laid out with helpful photos and graphics which provide the reader clarity and comprehension of the renewal project scope.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By saskatoonguy on April 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The transformation of Times Square from a den of porn, drugs, and prostitution into an urban Disneyland is the greatest success story of urban renewal. (I am astonished that anyone could be nostalgic about the old Times Square - I find it hard to be nostalgic about drug dealers loitering in front of porn shops and boarded-up theaters.)
Lynne Sagalyn devotes her 600-page tome to documenting the politics behind the redevelopment process. The end result is not exactly rivetting reading. Perhaps it's asking too much for any author to transform this epic of backroom politics, urban planners, and real estate developers into a "good read." In any event, the author has carefully documented the entire process, focussing on the backroom politics and urban planning strategies, rather than on the architecture of the buildings themselves. The book is profusely illustrated with well over a hundred b&w photos and detailed maps. In addition, a central color section of the book has about 35 photographs and drawings.
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