Read Tales of Times Square: Expanded Edition Online

Authors: Josh Alan Friedman

Tags: #Health; Fitness & Dieting, #Psychology & Counseling, #Sexuality, #History, #Americas, #United States, #State & Local, #Historical Study & Educational Resources, #Essays, #Medical Books, #Psychology, #Politics & Social Sciences, #Social Sciences, #Popular Culture, #Pornography, #Sociology, #Education & Teaching, #Historical Study

Tales of Times Square: Expanded Edition

BOOK: Tales of Times Square: Expanded Edition


Praise for
Tales of Times Square

“Friedman manages to paint a devastating portrait of a culture of vice...

Tales of Times Square
can be read as a brief for action.”

Washington Times

“An entertaining obscene postcard of Times Square on the brink.”

Village Voice

“Amazing stories!”

San Francisco Examiner

“Short stories that are the best I’ve ever seen about Times Square. I couldn’t put it down. I recommended [Friedman] for a Pulitzer Prize.”

Show Business

“Evocative, entertaining, not for the faint-hearted. [Friedman’s] no-holds-barred portrait of the porn industry and its workers is intriguing, if a little cold-blooded.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“Reminiscent of
New Yorker
writing at its best, but with much more humor.... Unforgettable, and good enough to turn Jimmy Breslin or Studs Terkel pale mauve with envy.”

Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“A fascinating study of life in New York City’s entertainment hub.”


“The most compelling reading to come along since the attorney general’s report....This book made me want to shower.”

Washington Post

A rainy night in 1923

Courtesy of the New York Historical Society, New York City




By Josh Alan Friedman

Any Similarity

to Persons Living Or Dead

Is Purely Coincidental

(With Drew Friedman)

Warts And All

(With Drew Friedman)

Tales of Times Square

When Sex Was Dirty

I, Goldstein

(With Al Goldstein)




Tales of Times Square © 1986, 1993, 2007 by Josh Alan Friedman All rights reserved.

eISBN: 9781936239696

Published by:
Feral House
1240 W. Sims Way Suite 124
Port Townsend. WA. 98368


Grateful acknowledgement is made for permission to reprint excerpts from the following:
Carnival Crossroads: The Story of Times Square
by W.G. Rogers and Mildred Weston.
© 1960 by W.G. Rogers and Mildred Weston Rogers. Reprinted by permission of Doubleday & Co., Inc. /
by Brooks Atkinson. © 1970 by Brooks Atkinson. Reprinted with permission of Macmillan Publishing Co. /
Ladies and Gentlemen, Lenny Bruce!
by Albert Goldman and Lawrence Schiller. © 1971, 1973, 1974 by Alskog, Inc. And Albert Goldman. Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc. / “Queen of the Gang Bang” originally published under the title “Great American Cream Machine” in
. © 1979, reprinted by permission of
/ “Pecker Full of Miracles” originally published in
. © 1981, reprinted by permission of
/ “Season’s Greetings from Long Jean Silver” originally published under the title “I Cream of Jeannie” in
. © 1982, reprinted by permission of
/ “Rave Up” originally published in
. © 1982, reprinted by permission of
/ “A Schitzy Girl is Like a Melody” originally published in
© 1982, reprinted by permission
of Live!
/ “Tales of Times Square” originally published in
, and contained the following pieces: “Yesterday’s Cheers Have a Very Short Echo”; “The Crystal Ball of 42nd Street”; “In Search of the Longest Stiletto”; and material on Oxuzana (contained in “Inside the Peeps”) and material on Bob Anthony (contained in “Old Flesh Agents”). © 1983, reprinted by permission of
/ “Save Our 42nd Street!” originally published in
Soho News
, © 1978.
Tales of Times Square
was originally published in a clothbound edition in 1986 by Delacorte Press.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1






To My Darling Peg


Yesterday’s Cheers Have a Very Short Echo



A Schitzy Girl is Like a Melody
Rave Up!
Uncle Lou’s Scrapbook
Season’s Greetings from Long Jean Silver
Old Flesh Agents



The Princess of 42nd Street
The Crystal Ball of 42nd Street
Dancing on the Frying Pan
Pee Wee Is Not a Happy Man



Inside the Peeps
The Peep Machine
The Peep History
In Search of the Longest Stiletto



Queen of the Gang-Bang
Pecker Full of Miracles



Father Rappleyea’s Parish
Cops and Skells
The Big Cleanup
Times Square or Bust
Times Square’s Good Shepherd
Pross and Pimps
Castrate the Bastards!



Save Our 42nd Street
Twenty-Four Hours On the Square
Victory’s Defeat
Skell’s Nutrition
If Marquees Could Talk
Remembering Hubie’s
Twenty-Four Hours On the Square (Part II)
Hell’s Shoeshine Stands
Liz Dumps Dick for Mort Fineshriber
The Ol’ In And Out
Twenty-Four Hours On the Square (Part III): Greatest of Grease
Riese’s Leases
Photo Section



God’s Gift to Women
The Strikeout King
Babes on Broadway
I Just Met a Girl Named Maria
Memories of
The Rise and Fall of Al Goldstein


Afterword: I Gave My Regards to Broadway


Special Thanks:

Al Goldstein, Larry Wichman, John Lombardi, Richard Brandes, Richard Jaccoma, Larry Sloman, Gil Reavill, Jeff Goodman, Jay Acton, Susan Moldow, and Paul McCarthy

B.J.F., G.F. and P.L.B. for support


This is a 21st-anniversary edition of
Tales of Times Square
. More than any neighborhood I can imagine, Times Square is a character itself. It occupies a fifth dimension, with its own molecules and voltage, its own history and sex life, and seemingly has a will of its own. A lot has gone down since the first edition. The “New 42nd Street” may be the greatest transformation to hit the streets since—for those who recall—the “New Nixon.” I address these events in a new Afterword.

We’ve also added six chapters from a lesser-known collection,
When Sex Was Dirty
. I wrote these pieces soon after
, and they seem to fit.

The events in
took place from 1978–1984. This was the Golden Age of Pornography, when porn was
dirty. Mom-and-pimp sex enterprises flourished. All the characters are real, with the exception of Dudley Arnholt, composite Times Square masturbator/Everyman of “Inside the Peeps.”

“Save Our 42nd Street” was offered as sheer conjecture. The police officers’ names in “Cops and Skells” and “Pross and Pimps” were changed so that they could continue to work in their sensitive positions.

The places are gone; many characters have died. But their ghosts probably still wander 42nd Street, and you never know which face in the crowd might be one of them.

Meanwhile, let us revisit Times Square’s nastiest days as a mecca of cheap thrills, ghetto entertainment, and 25-cent fulfillment for our sexually bankrupt masses. Hello, sucker!

Your smart-ass tour guide,



Izzy Grove—the “Ghetto Avenger,” as he was once known in the twenties as a top middleweight contender—is bracing himself for the street any day now. Loews Corporation, owners of the old show-biz building on 46th Street off Broadway where Izzy’s kept a $60-a-month “office” for seventeen years, is giving him the boot. With the market ripe, Loews wants back this little space. And Izzy’s become one scared seventy-three-year-old pug.

“I got tears in my eyes just talking about it,” says Izzy, dabbing under his box glasses with a hankie. “They cut my phone, they knock down my door. I live right, I behave myself, I’m not a bum. I never been convicted of a crime or felony, I’m no tough guy. People that see me, unnerstand, I don’t want them to pity me. People put money in my—looka—” Izzy pulls out a wad of crumpled bills and phone numbers—officials of housing bureaucracy, friends, connections—but none of them do any good. His fingers are twisted, nails fungous; his hands have small lacerations, his ears look like doughy biscuits. “I don’t have to cry to ya, it’s not pleasant. Sure, if I wanted to I can go ahead and work for fifty bookmakers and ticket hustlers. My wife, Alice, she rest in peace, always told me that instead of being a tough guy, a shylock, a racket guy, a numbers runner or a bookmaker, to go into legitimate business where people will have respect for ya.”

Grove scored
first knockout at the old Madison Square Garden in the Twenties. He went on to kayo “three out of four former world
,” in bouts at the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field, Yankee Stadium. “I got ten columns from Damon Runyon in the
New York American
,” he boasts. “But a fella called Dan Parker, sports editor of the
Daily Mirror
, is who made me.” In the Thirties, Grove became a Broadway booking agent and a regular of Lindy’s society. “I wasn’t MCA or General Amusement or the William Morris office—those are the key bookers. The rest is all amateur night in Dixie.” Nevertheless, Grove booked Ellington, Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, dozens of big bands at dances for some twenty years. “But ya see, truefully, uh, today it ain’t here anymore, because people don’t want acts.” His next career—pasting up fight posters for the Garden, pushing a shopping cart and bucket of glue—began to take precedence. It’s been his meal ticket for the past thirty years, but lately they haven’t been calling.

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