RSS

Category Archives: Times Square

Giant revolutionary girls on Broadway…

Billboards are one of my favorite photographic subjects, and particularly billboards with enormous images of women. There are more than a few scattered throughout this blog. Here is my latest snapshot, a picture of a promotion for a new Amazon series that started streaming on 10/28/16. The billboard is on Broadway a few blocks above Times Square.

A very arresting group portrait.

A very arresting group portrait.

 

When I first saw the image a couple of weeks ago, when I was going to get some coffee, I was immediately struck by how familiar the girls looked, even though I didn’t know them. I thought the head bands worn by the two on the ends were odd, because at first I thought these were contemporary characters and you rarely see women wear head bands anymore. Then, when I learned the show takes place in the late 1960s (it’s about female journalists protesting their treatment in the workplace), I realized that, in a way, I did know these gals–that’s what most young ladies looked like back then.

So I get a nice little nostalgic twinge every time I see these pretty faces coming at me from long ago…

 

POSTSCRIPT 11/2/16

The morning after I wrote the above, the billboard was gone, replaced by something so boring it wasn’t even worth taking a picture of. So I’m glad I didn’t procrastinate about making a record of GIRLS GIRLS REVOLT while it was up.

In fact, I made several pictures of it, at different times. Here are two more, taken at night:

goodgirlsrevolt-atnite

 

goodgirlsrevolt-btwntrucks

 

Although the pic is far from perfect, I do like the one where the faces are glimpsed between the trucks. I wish I’d got the exposure better, but I shot it with my flip phone.

Fortunately, I discovered there is also another, vertical version of the billboard about a block away, on Seventh Avenue, and here the girls loom large against the buildings almost assembled in an ominous mass against them…

 

goodgirlsrevolt-onwall

Don’t know how long this second billboard will be up, but at least I’ve captured it. Someday I’ll have to locate the shot-on-film images I took of the huge Jessica Alba billboard that hung on the Hearst Building many years ago; I shot those pictures on film, but I can’t remember where I put the prints. Too much on my mind lately…

Well, I love my giantesses! 😉

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 30, 2016 in Amazon.com, New York City, Times Square

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Lovingly lingering memories of Eighth Avenue sleaze…

Ah, sleaze fondly remembered. To start, here is a shot I took of 46th Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday morning 9/25/16, looking northwest, with the new, recently completed, and rather monolithic RIU Plaza hotel in the middle of the picture.

46thandeighthavesept2016

 

Once on the very site of that hotel stood two very interesting adult video stores, crammed to the tops of their shelves not only with standard hardcore movies but also intriguing exploitation and grindhouse flicks on VHS and DVD. Also there was the Full Moon Saloon near the corner, one of my favorite hangouts back in the 80s and early 90s.

I seemed to stop spending much time in bars after a good portion of the adult magazine business shifted over to Magna Publishing in New Jersey in 1993, to where I commuted frequently to assemble titles like CHEEKS, GIRLS OVER 40, SEX ACTS, and LEG WORLD. Formerly I did all my editing and writing in Manhattan, and life in New York felt strangely off-kilter when I had to reverse-commute to New Jersey. Even though, since I was a freelancer, I didn’t have to do it everyday like most  of my associates, nonetheless there was always something discombobulating about it.

The old building on the left side of the picture was known back in the day to some of us sleaze aficionados as the “TV Hotel,” as in “transvestite,” because many transgender women used to ply their prostitution trade there, after meeting customers at nearby clubs and bars in Times Square. This went on back in the late 70s, early 80s. Now for many years the building has been just a regular tourist hotel.

Additional factoid, but not visible in the picture: at the vantage point from which I took this photo once stood three adult movie theaters: the Capri, the Eros, and the Venus. They are long gone and the space is now occupied by respectable bars, restaurants, and an outdoor shopping mall. If you want to read the definitive book about these theaters and the area, check out the classic volume Sleazoid Express by Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford.

The moral of my musings is simple: these builders can transform the neighborhood but never erase the lingering memories of the locals. We exist in two dimensions simultaneously: the current world of a better scrubbed, more staid New York,and the landscape of its more uninhibited and colorfully tawdry past.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pasta and erotica in Hell’s Kitchen…

Like many writers, I spend probably way too much time sitting on my butt. The heat wave we recently had here in NYC only encouraged that, keeping me indoors more than usual. But tonight was lovely outside so I made sure I took a walk after I finished my day’s cranking, and when I saw a Ninth Avenue coffee shop had an open window seat, I thought I’d treat myself to a pasta dinner instead of my usual Chinese combo takeout eaten in front of the tv at home.

The street scene was noisy and lively while I ate my salad and angelhair primavera, but I didn’t mind the clamor at all. Sometimes the very racket that makes me apoplectic when I’m alone sitting in front of my computer trying to write is soothing when I’m out amongst the human race again.

After my entree, I got some coffee and made some notes for tomorrow’s story writing for an erotica website…

I tear a piece of typing paper into four strips & sketch out a week of storylines on each strip.

I tear a piece of typing paper into four strips & sketch out a week of storylines on each strip.

 

When I looked up from my scribbling, the evening light on Ninth Avenue was pleasant…

StreetScene AtDinner

But I got to thinking about the movie I saw last night on TCM, Turner Classic Movies: THE DARK CORNER, a 1946 film noir that not only took place in midtown Manhattan and Times Square, but had its gumshoe hero live at the corner of 52nd and Tenth Avenue, right in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen when it really WAS Hell’s Kitchen!

Although I believe it was shot on the 20th Century Fox lot, this film brilliantly evokes NYC, especially its sounds.

Although I believe it was shot on the 20th Century Fox lot, this film brilliantly evokes NYC, especially its sounds.

 

So I thought to myself, why don’t I take a walk over there to see what building he was supposed to have lived in!

After I finished my coffee, I strolled west. Lo and behold, the corner where Bradford Galt, Private Investigator, was said to have resided in 1946 looked pleasingly ungentrified in 2016, and the building seemed quite like one where the brooding Mr. Galt (well-played by Mark Stevens) could have tangled with a murderous William Bendix in the film’s most exciting scene. (I highly recommend this movie.)

Most everything around it is gentrified now, but this building could well have been the digs for a noir shamus!

Most everything around it is gentrified now, but this building could well have been the digs for a noir shamus!

 

True, Hell’s Kitchen—a moniker once a notorious symbol of the area’s gangs and violence—is now mostly used as a colorful name and real estate selling point for the neighborhood—more juicy sounding than what it’s also called, Clinton (after DeWitt, I presume, and not Hillary or Bill). But when you’re aware of the history of the area, it never feels fully gentrified…and of course, when you personally have a noirish point of view when it comes to life in general, the spirit of Hell’s Kitchen lives on wherever you are!

With the right lighting in my apartment, and my fave fedora, I could be waiting for a femme fatale to show up!

With the right lighting in my apartment, and my fave fedora, I look like I’m waiting for a femme fatale to show up. Come to think of it, judging by the femdom erotica I write, I probably am!

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jessica Simpson and other giantesses of Times Square!

I love taking pictures of girls on giant billboards. Here are a couple of recent ones.

The giantesses loom above us in midtown Manhattan! These are the modern pinups, forty feet high.

Click on the pix to see them even larger.

JessicaAnd ButtBabes4Blog

 

 

SoloButt Girl4Blog

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Erotica, New York City, Times Square

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tad’s Broiled Steaks: NYC Time Travel Portal!

Arghh! Was going to submit this to the Gothamist website (as a friend of mine urged), but I kept procrastinating and fiddling with it, and then yesterday they published someone else’s article on the topic! So I figure, what the heck, even though I already posted something else here today, this steak piece will work just fine on my blog…

TAD’S STEAKS: NYC TIME TRAVEL PORTAL!

About ten days ago I felt the most urgent desire to travel back into the past. The combined stresses of the holidays, freelance life, and the usual financial demands of living in NYC just got to me and I felt an almost visceral wish to leave my apartment on the edge of the Theater District and walk into 1970s Times Square—long-lost land of cheap movies, food, porn, and sex.

Absurd, I know—yet there was one way I could do it. Not by going to one of the few remaining Eighth Avenue porn shops or strip clubs—these are all firmly rooted in the present. The shrink-wrapped magazines in today’s smut shops discourage the pleasurable browsing which made porn emporiums fun in the past, and jiggle joints are just too expensive between their ten dollar beers, twenty dollar lapdances, and obligatory coat-checks to feel very casual to the cash-vigilant visitor.

But the one place I could think of that retains its 70s vibe is Tad’s Broiled Steaks on 50th Street off Seventh Avenue. True, the prices have kept pace with 2015, but the lovely faux elegant red-walled ambiance, the glasses of wine sealed with clear wrap, the constantly broiling steaks near the window, the baked potatoes and slabs of garlic bread slathered with butter, the bowls of salad slapped with the dressing of your choice—all these things felt mercifully the same.

Tads Steaks-50thSt-2015

Even the tall red plastic water glasses harkened to a fabled past recalling nights of triple kung-fu and horror features on the Deuce; cheap drinks at the Club 44 topless joint on Eighth Avenue with its gigantic bar and friendly barmaids and dancers of many nations; and bargain walk-in massage parlors behind impossibly crude yet alluring hand-painted signage.

It took about fifteen minutes of waiting online to get my New York sirloin steak with bread, potato, and salad accompanied by a Bud Lite. The tab came to almost $25, far more than I usually pay for dinner—but definitely worth the wait. It wasn’t a great steak—the one I had the week before at a Christmas/Hanukkah dinner at Gallaghers courtesy of a writer/personal trainer friend, was terrific (I didn’t even want to eat the next day so that I could retain the sense memory of that dinner); but my Tad’s repast was tasty, maybe a “tad” (haha) more well-done than I would have wished, but still good enough.

I sat in the back in the corner, listening not to the details of my fellow diners’ conversations, but simply enjoying the convivial murmur around me as I heartily consumed a decent meal in a place which, with unintentional heroism, preserves the exact glory of its past. There were two chrome-domed middle-aged guys who might’ve been twins, chatting with a lady and her smartphone; a pair of Asian men having a one-way conversation (one guy talked non-stop, the other just listened); and a Hispanic family with fussy grandma, little girl with bright pink Disney purse, calm and collected young mother, and a tall father with a white-and-pink stuffed animal dangling out of his coat pocket as he maneuvered his tray of steaks and clear-wrapped wine over to the table. Above us all in the fairly low-ceiling dining room was a symmetrical forest of Christmas decorations. Usually I like to read when I eat alone, and I did have a book in my pocket (the excellent 1947 novel The Blank Wall which became the terrific 1949 Joan Bennett/James Mason movie The Reckless Moment), but I didn’t open it.

TheBlankWall-NoirNovel

Instead I was, for once, very much into the moment and place in which I found myself, not daydreaming or escaping into someone else’s daydreams via their fiction. I savored my steak, devoured my salad, wolfed down my potato and mopped up with the garlic bread any last lovely residue of butter or Italian dressing. Then I settled in to nurse my Bud Lite as I continued to marinate myself in this little excursion back to the honky-tonk New York of the 70s.

Afterward I was tempted to check out a strip club too, but hitting the street again I felt my own pleasurably “reckless moment” of time-travel urges had been satisfied. And anyway, no modern “gentlemen’s club” (at least in Manhattan that I know of) can bring back the 70s since these current joints all have lap dancing now, which didn’t exist forty years ago and thoroughly changed the feeling of the clubs. So I decided it was time to go home to continue reading The Blank Wall and enjoy the memory of my brief but happy foray into one of the last-standing remnants of Times Square’s lost tawdry sparkle.

As far as I’m concerned, the city should confer landmark status on Tad’s Broiled Steaks!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 22, 2015 in Erotica, New York City, Times Square

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Memorial for a porn pioneer…

Last night I went to the memorial for Candida Royalle, the actress and filmmaker who started the couples erotica genre back in the mid-1980s and helped kickstart the whole feminist porn movement. She died in early September at age 64 of ovarian cancer.

Here’s the program from the memorial, unfortunately a little crumpled because I kept it in my overcoat while trying to juggle a plate of food and a glass of wine after the service…

CandidaRoyalleMemorialBooklet

The photo on the program is by Daniel Nicoletta.

 

Many people wore red, because that was Candida’s favorite color. I don’t have much red in my wardrobe, so I went to a souvenir shop near Times Square where I knew they sell inexpensive ties of many colors, including red.

There was a potluck assortment of food afterward, so I brought a box of chocolate covered cherries, since those also are red and a particularly voluptuous treat that seemed appropriate in memory of a woman celebrated for her love of sensuality.

She loved tomatoes—she even sang a song about them—which were passed out at the end of the service. Quite tasty.

Candida certainly was a very accomplished and energetic woman, and with the mourners like porn legends Annie Sprinkle and Vanessa Del Rio filling Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, it was overflowingly obvious she had an amazing gift for friendship too. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know her better; I only knew her as a professional acquaintance, running into her at events like screenings or, last year, at the memorial for another XXX icon, Gloria Leonard. I did note, however, that whenever our paths crossed, Candida had the remarkable ability to make you feel she was really glad to see you, and valued even a few moments of your presence. That’s quite a gift.

As her friends spoke their remembrances—people such as Annie, Veronica Vera, Veronica Hart, writer Ariel Hart, and her close friend and production associate Michele Capozzi—I found myself astounded that with all her busy filmmaking and sex toy designing and sinematic entrepreneurship, she had the ability to make so much space in her life for other people. Clearly she was one of those unique individuals who can cram into her allotted time on this crazy planet experiences and relationships that would take most average human beings three or four lifetimes to encompass.

As we of the first generation of legal porn creators, those of us who started in the 1970s when the obscenity laws relaxed, begin to age, illness and death become inevitable visitors, as to all people. But sometimes I feel in a kind of silly, post-adolescent way, “Wasn’t porn supposed to keep us young and strong forever?” Porn, or erotica if you will, has a unique “fountain of youth” quality whether you create it in film or writing or art, or bring it to life on screen by having the sex yourself;  and I think porn fans feel that eternal youthfulness in it, too. I think that’s certainly one reason why I continue to enjoy writing it and indulging myself in a young manhood that may only exist in my mind, but is certainly vivid enough as it parades across my imagination and comes alive in the words on my computer screen.

Rest in peace, Candida Royalle, aka Candice Marion Vadala. For more about her life and films, check out her site here.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Femdom attitude at the beach…

Here’s a shot I grabbed near Times Square, on 44th Street and Eighth Avenue, of an advertising poster for the big new H&M store near Macy’s in NYC’s Herald Square. Click on the pic to make it larger.

"I hope those maggot boyfriends of ours fetched the hot dogs."

To my mind, the brunette seems to say: “I hope those maggot boyfriends of ours fetched the hot dogs.”

 

Cold-eyed, almost robotic, suspicious, distrustful, judgmental, and holding hands as they join forces–judging by this picture, can these girls see guys as anything but slaves, chattel, or dupes of their considerable wiles?

I wonder…

I love how mainstream advertising sets off all sorts of fantasies, and I’m sure glad New York City didn’t REALLY clean up Times Square as well as they say they did!

 

 

 

Tags: , , , ,