When looking at the history of the long building craze in New York City, it's hard not to recognize Times Square at patient zero. This is where overdevelopment began. A neighborhood of low-scale buildings and grunge because the home of Disney, Madame Tussaud's, Planet Hollywood and countless hotels and office towers.
At his point all the glitz and glam and glass feels so permanent and irrevocable. But is it? There's news today that the Virgin Megastore in Times Square will close up shop in February. The giant music outlet was one of the first big arrivals as the area was being transformed in the mid-90s. According to Fox, this is the result of "Virgin’s billionaire balloon traveler Richard Branson quietly leasing the existing 12 megastores to Vornado Realty and Related Properties last year."
Add Virgin's exit to the still-undeveloped-site once occupied by Howard Johnson's, the huge vacant Ollie's space on 44th Street, and the string of closed restaurants and businesses on 45th Street and 46th Street between Broadway and Eighth—still awaiting the construction of a rumored new hotel which never comes—and there are a few missing teeth in Times Square's shiny commercial smile. It's doubtful in this economy that much new is going to happen with these spaces. A couple more significant closings on 42nd Street or the blocks facing Times Square and we may be looking at a new era in the history of the Crossroads of the World.