We love a party, and just about any excuse will do. How about a 99 year birthday celebration? And an end-of-construction ribbon cutting? Both are on the horizon over at Duffy Square, the little triangle at the north end of the Times Square bow-tie that, like its three-sided neighbor to the south, often gets short shrift. But that's all about to change. Now that a June 20 re-opening date has been set for the forever-under-construction big red TKTS plaza-bleacher extravaganza the time seemed ripe for dusting off the old Duffy Square archives. We even found a surprise or two.
This busy spot smack dab in the middle of Manhattan has seen more than its share of statues, although all haven't been as long-lived as the venerable and soon-too-be-returned image of Father Duffy. The good Father D., a chaplain for the famed Fighting 69th Infantry in WWI, was the fellow who cleaned up this nabe the first time around, before those corporate types did a more recent wipe up in these parts. Duffy's likeness has been seen on the northern wedge of Times Square since 1937, and the return of his 17-foot statue some 70 years later, following a full restoration, is hard upon us. Which is one good reason to raise a toast. Another is the near-centenary celebration in honor of an older statue that first appeared here way back in '09. She was dubbed "Miss Purity" and was erected from 8 tons of white plaster by a gang of good old boys from Tammany Hall during one of their political dust ups. Seems a foe of theirs did something nasty involving a cow, a bunch of rubber tubing and some not-so-nice words. Well, not surprisingly the Tammany boys took offense. In response they built a 50 foot woman, shielded her plaster bosom with the words "Lover of Purity", and stood her atop a base announcing the "Defeat of Slander." Sadly, after a mere two months some heavy rains melted her message, leaving a puddle of gooey slop where Duffy was later to rise. That's a good enough reason to raise a second toast. When Father Duffy finally does return we'll have yet another cause for celebration and, of course, a moment to think of those who came before. Do give your regards to Broadway.
· Greeley's Flare [Curbed]
· In Cuozzo We Trust [Curbed]
· TKTS Raises Red Treads to Nowhere [Curbed]
· When You've Got to Go, Go in Times Square [Curbed]