Tag Archives: Broadway

A delightfully & historically sinful corner of Times Square!

As I said in my last post, I wanted to tell you the significance of the corner of 46th and Broadway. Well, where the American Eagle Outfitters store now stands in Times Square at that intersection…selling among its stock the Aerie brand of provocative underthings for young ladies…

…this once stood: the Follies Burlesk theater!

The Follies, conveniently located next to America's favorite restaurant, Howard Johnson's!

I found the Follies shot at a cool blog called The Whiskey Barrel.

In today’s pedestrian plazas in Times Square, you can pull up a chair and watch the digital tease show that looms above you like a parade of young giantesses.

The burlesque queens of yore could never dream of such grand displays!

I remember the Follies, which was there well into the 80s. Somebody said the name was changed to the New Paris Theater; I don’t remember, but that’s entirely possible. I just remember it as the Follies, and that’s what I always called it; where I saw strippers like the busty blonde bombshell, the late Joey Karson, back in the early 80s. I remember me and my managing editor at the time, Sid Pauli, once running into porn legend George Payne in the doorway of the Follies and having a nice chat about the adult movie biz. I think the Follies closed just before the late Lisa de Leeuw, one of my porn favorites, was about to headline. I remember how disappointed I was. Luckily, I got to meet Lisa on one of my first trips to the adult video conventions in Las Vegas, but it would have been fun to see her bodacious redhead beauty cavorting on the Follies stage.

If I recall correctly, the Follies was managed for quite awhile by a guy whose mother was a famous stripper back in the 40s and 50s.

Below is the old time sign of the Follies as I remember it in the 90s and after, and how it still hung until finally the demolition of the building made way for the structure that is there today and houses the American Eagle Outfitters store. I found this shot on a tumblrblog called Art Is The Opposite of Death.  

That's the sign I remember, which stood until the bitter end in all its lovely, dilapidated glory.

So I guess this corner of 46th and Broadway was the perfect spot for a modern day version of a girlie show, except in its modern, digital, socially acceptable form.

For eight years in the 1980s, I lived a half a block away too, right in the middle of the sleazy tumult of pre-Disneyfied, pre-cleaned-up Times Square…the era when the girlies were still whirling there. But that’s the subject for future posts.

This corner was also the location of a famous gay burlesk venue, the Gaiety Theater, and you can read all about it on the great urban history blog Vanishing New York.¬†Their post also has a shot of the box office of the Orpheum, a heterosexual “taxi dance” hall which stood on the spot at one point as well. One day I’ll write about my own experiences at the last few taxi dance halls that still dotted Times Square in the 70s and 80s.


The American Eagle Outfitters billboard shots were taken by yours truly. Copyright 2012 Irv O. Neil.


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Times Square porn writer enjoys the calm before New Year’s Eve frenzy…

At last 2011 is coming to a close. I’ve definitely had better years as a freelance writer of erotica. Many of the magazines I was writing for in 2010 at this time closed down in early 2011. I lost a tremendous amount of regular income.

Still, I persevered. I figured it out last night from my daily records–I wrote, revised, and polished approximately 362,600 words–or the equivalent of SIX 60,000 word books. Or if you consider a full-length book 80,000 words, I wrote the equivalent of four and a half books. No wonder I feel discombobulated sometimes! That’s a lot of porn under the bridge. And this was an off-year assignment-wise for the reason I just stated above. The year before, when there were more magazines to write for, I wrote somewhere between 750,000 and 1,000,000 words (my records were not as meticulous last year, so I’m not exactly sure–I was too busy cranking out horny stories, girl copy, website prose, research articles and product reviews). That’s the kind of production pulp writers used to achieve back in the 1930s and 1940s…on the low end of the pulp spectrum! I’ve heard of pulp writers who did 3,000,000 words in a year (although unlike myself, they could only do that by mostly not revising or polishing). Anyway, I was a writing demon in 2010; I did as much as I could, maybe because I sensed or feared many magazines wouldn’t last. That kind of work opportunity isn’t available anymore in magazines.

So now 2011, when the sex mag business really took a hit, is coming to a close. And I sense it’s going to end noisily. I live in midtown Manhattan on the edge of Times Square, and the throngs are already blowing their little horns on the streets and whooping it up, and it’s not even 8:00 yet. You have more than four hours left to go, folks!

Yesterday I took a walk through Times Square and on the fringes of the nabe with my camera in hand. It was sunny and not too cold, and I enjoyed mingling in the crowds. When I have something to do, like making pictures, Times Square is interesting. When I’m just walking through the hordes of people, it’s annoying and stressful.

Here are some of the sights I came upon. As you’ll note, I enjoy contrasting tiny people with big billboards:

42nd Street Near 8th Avenue

42nd and Broadway

Around 45th and Broadway

Looking south from 44-45th and Broadway

In 1888, Eugene O'Neil was born on the spot where I took this picture

The ziggurat-like Paramount Building at 44th and 7th Avenue, where Frank Sinatra wowed the bobbysoxers.

Looking east from between 45th and 46th on Broadway

Later, in the evening, I went out to dinner with my camera along, and walking through the area once known as “Hell’s Kitchen” I came upon this striking sign. Two versions:

51st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues

A touch of the old Times Square & Hell's Kitchen, but timeless in its blunt force

I can’t decide what I want to do tonight. I made no plans, and money is tight, but perhaps on New Year’s Eve I could allow myself the pleasure of a lapdance or two. I have coupons to get into the strip clubs for no admission (that little ole clever carnal consumer, me). But do I want to fight my way through the crowds? I was also tempted to call friends, but I felt like being alone and maybe watching a movie and having a beer in pleasant solitude, despite the racket of the New Year’s crowds on the street. And then maybe, an hour or two before midnight, trying to work my way over to a tittie bar.

I’ve been very frugal this year, and sometimes I think I take it too far. Maybe it’s not good for a pornographer’s mental health NOT to check in with the floozies at least once a month…

Well, whether I go out or not, at least I can travel to sleazy destinations in my memory, stuffed full of the sensations of lapdances, strippers, hookers, dominatrixes, and peep show girls from my past…or through a screen capture like this one of Broadway and 52nd Street almost forty-six years ago, courtesy of the 1966 James Garner movie Mister Buddwing, a suspense thriller about an amnesia victim wandering through the raunchy old New York so many of us miss.

52nd and Broadway on the edge of Times Square, 1966

But you know something? If I walk around on the streets, I can find the film-noirish visual energy still in Hell’s Kitchen without time-traveling through memory or movies…

Click on the pic to enjoy its full intensity! This is 52nd Street and 9th Avenue, looking east toward Worldwide Plaza.

Let’s hope for a better year in 2012 for all of us who need it and want it! And thank you all for reading my blog and checking out my bizarre ebooks.


Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Erotica


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