Saturday, October 29, 2011
I've not had the good fortune of walking through Times Square in the mid- to late 1970s. Good fortune? Yes because that was a time when it looked like we, as a society, were mired resolutely in the sewer and there's something to be said about experiencing a hellish, lurid reality that opens your eyes to the goodness of life.
1970s Times Square - the Deuce - was wall-to-wall movie theaters but not as we currently know them. These theaters catered to the basest of humanity, focused on grindhouse and pornography for the lowliest and lonliest people on the planet.
There's a strange nostalgia for the Deuce now and its probably in response to the the neon-blasted falsified cheerful Times Square of today, which was "cleaned up" years ago to appeal to mainstream America.
Don't let 'em fool ya - this chain-restaurant, chain-retail smeared corner of the earth is just as sleazy as it was back in 1976. But its sleaze is based on pop culture marketing, selling the masses crap that they'll consume and throw away within minutes. But I'm not complaining, Times Square is, if anything, entertaining. The predominance of hookers and drooling junkies are just buried within the masses of roustabout teenagers, families and happy loving couples.
If you want to see remnants of the 1970s, just take a walk down Eighth Avenue between 42nd and 50th.
Or - better yet - watch Martin Scorsese's TAXI DRIVER.