So, without taking sides, the problem is best analogue by the price of Broadway Show ticket prices. When I was growing up, tickets to Broadway shows were within the budget of average blue-collar wage earners - secretaries, stock clerks, etc. Each year the theatres showed a wide variety of new shows and the experience was available to most residents of the City.
The problem was that the Broadway area had become exceedingly “seedy”. Streetwalkers openly plied their trade along the streets, peep shows and porn theatres dotted the area and, frankly, it was a bit unsafe to walk there at night.
SO, New York City, in partnership with the theatre industry, cracked down and cleaned up thee area.
Nowadays, the streets are lined with Disney souvenir shops, M&M shops and assorted tourist restaurants.
A large number of the plays filling the theatres became multi-year events (Lion King, Les Misérables, Phantom, etc.) and revivals. Having actors with recognized names from the movies became a staple. The selection of shows became a function of business rather than art. Marketing for them became world-wide and it became “mandatory” for every tourist to see at least one Broadway show when visiting NYC.
And the theatres have discovered that, if they turned their ticket sales over to firms like Ticketmaster, their computer programs would maximize revenues/profits.
Nowadays, ticket prices running into the hundreds of dollars are the norm and the local population has a rough time scraping together enough shekels to buy a ticket. Sure, there are sources like TKTS, rush seats, lotteries and so on, butt they rarely work for hot shows and frankly, there are comparatively few really new shows as the producers squeeze money out of the blockbusters year after year.
So, rather than being the philosophical center of NYC for its residents, Times Square has become a tourist Mecca, which NY’ers, unless they have business there, tend to avoid because the rube tourists, and those who prey on them, are nearly as annoying as the hookers and peep shows that used to fill the neighborhood and the theatres in their own city have become too expensive for most NY’ers to patronize.
(Who has more than “broken even” by flying to London and “binge-watching” the same shows on the West End for a fraction of their costs in New York)