Saturday, December 19, 2015

Times Square Of Yore


Close to 300,000 people pass through Times Square every day. A good percentage are commuters heading to the Port Authority bus terminal and the rest are tourists, who come to gawk at the theaters' bright lights, shop at the name-brand stores, and dine at the chain restaurants.

Times Square wasn't always that safe for citizens.

Back in the 1970s the Bright White Way was dangerous.

From MAYBE TOMORROW by Peter Nolan Smith

The first two paragraphs of Chapter 3 of that book about a failed punk band.

Thirty-one shopping days remained until Christmas, yet not a single wreath adorned the porno shops, strip clubs, or X-rated theaters above 42nd Street and any Santa Claus, real or fake, steered clear of Times Square, where hapless victims were robbed, cheated, murdered or worse without any interference from the Law, for the 'Deuce' had been designated a free-for-all red-light district by NYC officials in hopes of containing the city's rampant sex and drug traffic. Standing in front of the Haymarket Bar Johnny Darling bore silent witness to the overwhelming failure of the politicians’ social experiment.

All along the Minnesota Strip suburban tricks hijacked teenage runaways straight off a bus from the Midwest and slick hustlers struck cowboy poses on the street corners, while dope-hungry muggers trailed unsuspecting hicks down dark streets. The action should have tapered off before Thanksgiving, except the players on the Strip were dedicated to acting naughty and not the least bit nice. Tonight was no exception.

Yesterday I walked from the Hudson River ferry landing and saw this HOTEL CLOSED at 360 West 42nd Street.

it was a last memento of those times.

There can't be many left in this city other than in my memories.

They were good ones.

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