In conjunction with the current exhibition TIMES SQUARE, 1984 The Skyscraper Museum presents a series of programs that bring together key actors in the transformation of Times Square over the past three decades. The first, Times Square Revisited: Urban Planning and Urban Design, examined the role of government, including the actions of the City Planning Commission in the rezoning of West Midtown and the Special Theater Sub-district, and the urban renewal plans overseen by the 42nd Street Development Project of New York State’s Urban Development Corporation (UDC). The 42DP conceived a plan for four mega-towers at the corners of Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 42nd St. that would be the deus ex machina that would create revenue to renovate historic theaters and fund subway improvements.
Herbert Sturz Served under Mayor Koch as Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning from 1980-1986. The subject of the biography A Kind of Genius: Herb Sturz and Society’s Toughest Problems by Sam Roberts, he has helped to found more than 20 New York non-profits devoted to social issues from criminal justice reform to affordable housing for the homeless.
Alexander Cooper FAIA, one of the world’s leading urban designers, is Founding Partner and CEO of Cooper, Robertson & Partners. From 1973-1978, he served in the Lindsay administration as the director of the Urban Design Group In the Department of City Planning; from 1973-1978, he sat on the Planning Commission. In 1979, he established his firm Alexander Cooper Associates and in 1981 was joined by Stan Eckstut to form Cooper Eckstut Associates. In 1980-81 they created the urban design guidelines for the 42nd Street Development Project.
Hugh Hardy, FAIA, is another of the world’s leading urban designers and preservation architects. From the restorations of the New Victory and New Amsterdam theaters, to the zebra-stripe apartment tower and Theater Row complex and sleek offices of The New 42nd Street, Inc., Hardy has restored and reshaped both the physical setting and emotional experience of Times Square for a generation.
Lynne B. Sagalyn, author of Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon, is the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and Director of the MBA Real Estate Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
Carl Weisbrod is the Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission and Director of the New York City Department of City Planning and former president of New York State’s 42nd Street Development Project (1987-1990).
Carol Willis is the founder and director of the Skyscraper Museum and a professor of Urban Studies at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning. She is also the author of Form Follows Finance and co-author of Building the Empire State with Donald Friedman.