Where the Ball Drops: Days and Nights in Times Square

This is the best book I've read about the recent changes in Times Square and what they mean. --Luc Sante, author of Low Life During the 1990s, Times Square changed its colors, from a notoriously seedy urban center to a family-friendly, corporate-sponsored entertainment district. Whether this was a renaissance or a loss of soul, a dream fulfilled or just another urban nightmare, the transformation of America's best-known intersection illuminates conflicts occurring in U.S. cities nationwide--between pleasure and moralism, participation and exclusion, global connectedness and local roots. A street-level portrait of Times Square's people, Daniel Makagon's work includes artfully rendered interviews, dialogues, and reflections. Where the Ball Drops reveals an ongoing urban drama that thrives on the contradictions of public and private life, on individual desires for belonging and anonymity, and on a sense of place and placelessness. It is one of the most complete, nuanced, and ultimately convincing accounts to date of the changes wrought by contemporary urban revitalization. Daniel Makagon presents a skilful ethnographic interpretation of how 'competing fantasies about the meaning and material reality of Times Square, which are advanced through various rhetoric visions, are affirmed, challenged, and, at times, undermined by the practices of everyday life.' --Cultural Studies Daniel Makagon is assistant professor of communication at DePaul University.