Thursday, October 20, 2011
I popped out of Penn Station a little after six this evening, and decided that Seventh Avenue looked a lot like October.
And, no, I saw no whores.
I thought only the Emperor's gardens were open to the sky on Trantor.
My actual mental image of Manhattan is from pictures taken from New Jersey. A shot from inside with dark clouds makes it too vulnerable. My NYC is a fantasy as seen from a brain in Oklahoma.
They're called "sex workers" or "escorts" now, and they no longer solicit on the streets of Manhattan. My first-ever trip into NYC was freshman year at Princeton when my Resident Advisor organized an outing to see something off-Broadway. This was eight years after Paul Simon forever besmirched the honorable name of Seventh Avenue in "The Boxer" in 1968 (here's how much of a geek I am, I looked it up.)
I remember a classmate dropped back from the pack a block or so... when he caught up with us again, he said he just wanted to see if he would get solicited by a prostitute. (He had.) I was solicited several times on casual visits into the 80s (and not that it's any of your business, but the answer to the question you're thinking is "no"). But I worked often crazy hours in Manhattan from 1988-2007, and no matter how late at night I was on the street, I never saw a streetwalker again.
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. On some weekends, my dad and I would drive into the city (Manhattan) for early breakfasts--he and I were up hours before anyone else in the house. We'd play a game. Mind you, I was 10 and 11. It would be spot the whores in drag along the West Side Highway.
I was allowed to travel into Manhattan alone when I was 13, and I would often go into Times Square to just "see what I could see." This was in '73. It was always daytime, I was always propositioned....
"me love you long time"
The Penn Station area never had many street walkers. Today, you'd have better luck on the streets of downtown Scranton.
The Times Square area had a lot until the Giuliani-Disney changes wrought in the early '90s. Now it's a PG tourist paradise.
How do I know this. I drove yelllow cabs, etc.
Back to the picture.
The Penn Station area hasn't seen much change since they tore down the old station to build the fourth Madison Square Garden. It's dominated by people in a hurry to get somewhere else, or MSG events.
But there's signs that it's going neon, more like Times Square.
You can see a McDonalds in the picture that's actually a landmark of sorts. McD's was once a suburban phenomenon. The one you see in the picture was their first big urban foray into NYC and quickly became their biggest grosser anywhere. It may still be. Two of my friends started on fries when it opened, and rose to manager while they were going through college.
There's a great Irish pub catty-corner to MSG on 33rd and 8th, Tir na Nog.