Times Square, the setting for The Cricket in Times Square, was originally called Long Acre Square, after a square in London's carriage district of the same name. Up until the late 19th century, Long Acre Square was not very exciting, consisting only of a large open space surrounded by some apartment buildings. After that, though, the area began to change, as electricity made large, lit-up theater advertisements possible.
The Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) was also added to the city's infrastructure at this time, meaning that New Yorkers could get from place to place within the city much more easily. Because they expected this area to be frequented more often with the advent of rapid transit, businessmen began to consider it for potential real estate. One of these was Adolph S. Ochs, owner of the New York Times, who chose this location for the new Times Tower.
In January of 1905, the Times officially moved their headquarters to Long Acre Square. It became known as Times Square from then on, and maintains the name today, even though the Times outgrew the building and moved to a new location less than a decade afterward. The tower itself remains, though, and while the Times was still in it, they began the famous New Years Eve tradition that lives on today.
In the early 20th Century, theaters began moving into the Times Square area from the former entertainment districts downtown. As popular restaurants, hotels, and bars began to establish themselves here, too, the area became more lively and exciting. Public transportation encouraged this growth, and Times Square became a hub for subway stations and bus lines, truly the center of the city.
The Great Depression and World War II slowed Times Square's growth, however, and it began to be known for seedier operations like burlesque shows and other lower forms of entertainment. Times Square was known for these vices throughout most of the century, and in the 1970s, it was a haven for all sorts of crime.
Despite all this, though, Times Square maintained its reputation as an important symbol of the city, its growth, and its bustling, busy nature. Efforts to revitalize the area began as the 21st century approached; today, after much time, money, and effort, Times Square is a much more better place to be.