Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Deuce... (via '79)

All throughout the '60s, '70s and '80s, there were repeated threats, plans, and promises to clean up and transform Times Square, particularly W42nd St. This seedy, crime infested stretch of vice and porn was the alternate city landmark- and like the Berlin Wall, I thought it would last forever.

I remember once draggin' my drunken ass up there at 3 in the morning after missing the last LIRR train out of Penn Station into Queens, which meant (instead of 20 min) I'd have to embark on a 2 hr trip home via bus/subway in 20 degree weather. Turning the corner unto the south side of 42nd to catch the #7, I encountered all 6'5" 300lbs of steroid enhanced wrestler, Billy "Superstar" Graham looking every bit the comic book icon, hand in hand with an Asian female seemingly one third his size. I just stood there (swaying no doubt) completely dumbfounded- one never knew what you'd find there.

The whole of Times Square is unrecognizable today from that thirty year stretch, with 42nd St a mere extension of Disneyland. Sometimes all we're left with are memories- and photographs.

Check out Langdon Clay's historic street long panoramic (and interview) here.

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