One Times Square:

A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World

  • Winner of a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award for 2012!
  • Named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012!

At the heart of the non-stop bustle of modern Times Square stands One Times Square, the former headquarters of the New York Times and the skyscraper – now all but invisible behind billboards – that gave the square its name in 1904. Around it, a once-humble district of carriage houses and coal merchants at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue evolved into “The Crossroads of the World.” Here impresarios and real-estate moguls vied to outdo each other as they built theaters and hotels, penny arcades and restaurants, dime museums and office towers in an unending cycle of reinvention and reimagination.

More than any other public space in New York City, Times Square is the place where Americans have gathered, in good times and in bad, to catch up on the latest news, to mark historic occasions, or just to meet a few friends. From the Stock Market crash in 1929 – when the building’s iconic “Zipper” provided up-to-the-minute information – to the celebrations marking the end of the Second World War, to annual New Year’s Eve festivities with the iconic descending lighted ball, the square and its tower have been an integral part of our history.

One Times Square explores the story of this fascinating intersection, starting when Broadway was a mere dirt path known as Bloomingdale Road, through the district’s decades of postwar decay, to its renewal as a glittering tourist-friendly media mecca. McKendry’s meticulous, lush watercolors take readers behind the famous Camel billboard to find out how it blew smoke rings over the square for 25 years, to the top of the Times Tower to see how the New Year’s ball has made its descent for over 100 years, and onto construction sites as buildings grow up around One Times Square to dwarf what once ranked among the tallest buildings in the world.

Just like Times Square itself, the pages are filled to the brim.
Kirkus Review

As an artist, McKendry is as versatile as Times Square itself, rendering sepia-toned watercolors just as adeptly as black-and-white line drawings, clarifying diagrams, streetscapes and full-spectrum painting. Much of the artwork feels deeply nostalgic, entirely appropriate to the subject matter – like leafing through an old issue of The Saturday Evening Post, with none of the pages falling out. Yet the layout, varied and lively but still with plenty of white space, feels entirely modern. This is both a handsome and highly readable book, one that will be pored over cover to cover by young New Yorkers, real and aspiring.
The New York Times

In this spectacular album of crisp sketches and meticulous paintings styled after archival and current photographs, McKendry (Beneath the Streets of Boston) serves up a fascinating biography of One Times Square . . . Architecture and history buffs–and, really, anyone with a sense of curiosity—will relish McKendry’s visual approach.
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Like Times Square itself, this book is pure visual stimulation . . . McKendry’s text is full of juicy nuggets, but the engaging and nostalgia-inspiring sepia and full-color watercolors steal the show.

McKendry’s book elegantly fuses watercolors and words to tell the story of one of America’s most iconic addresses.
Alex Marshall, Regional Plan Association

Selected by Jury for The Original Art 2012 - An Exhibition of Children's Book Illustration

Joe McKendry is a painter and illustrator whose work has appeared in over 100 publications worldwide, including the New York Timesthe London TimesVanity FairEsquire, and TIME Magazine.  His books, Beneath the Streets of Boston: Building America’s First Subway (David R. Godine, 2005) and One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World (David R. Godine, 2012), chronicle the history of their subjects in a way that is accessible to both children and adults. A native of Maynard, MA, McKendry teaches painting and illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Brookline, MA with his wife and three kids.