The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Duffy Square was attended by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Bishop Dennis Sullivan of the New York Archdiocese, members of the 69th Regiment, the Coalition for Father Duffy, the Times Square Alliance and the Theatre Development Fund.
The renovations on Times Square have transformed what was once merely a tarnished statue of Father Duffy in the shadows of the half-price theater tickets TKTS booth. Duffy’s statue now stands against a 27-step amphitheater-style staircase constructed of red glass with seating room for more than 500 people, and a newly designed futuristic TKTS booth.
At the ribbon ceremony on October 16, Bruce Meyerson, chairman of the Coalition for Father Duffy said, “This renovation restores a true sense of glory to Father Francis Patrick Duffy and rightly features him as the centerpiece of this place of reverence, remembrance and reflection.”
Francis P. Duffy was a chaplain for the predominately Irish “Fighting 69th” regiment that became part of the 42nd Division during World War 1. Duffy, an ordained Catholic priest, is the most highly decorated cleric in U.S. Army history.
Duffy returned to New York after the war and served as pastor of Holy Cross Church on 42nd Street, just off Broadway. He also wrote a best-selling book, Father Duffy’s Story in 1919, chronicling his experiences during the war.
Five years after Duffy’s death in 1932, New York City Mayor LaGuardia renamed a part of Times Square in his honor.