Thursday, June 14, 2007

25 Years Ago Today . . .

. . . I moved from Boston to Hell's Kitchen, back when it actually was Hell's Kitchen, to live in an apartment on 44th Street between 8th and 9th, back when 9th Avenue was sketchy, 10th Avenue was Danger Will Robinson, and Alphabet City was suicide. The Improv was across the street, right next to Dyke's Lumber, and half a block east on the north side of 44th, the AFL/CIO building still sported the logo of its previous owner, Paramount Pictures. Those were the days when every corner had a Blarney Stone instead of a Starbucks, and Citibank was the first and so far the only bank to offer automatic teller machines; the days when you could smoke in a movie theatre, and see three shows for spare change in the grimy theaters on 42nd Street; the days when walking down 43rd between Broadway and 8th or having lunch in Bryant Park was an invitation to a mugging; the days when the Drama Book Store was on Seventh Avenue, The Lone Star was on the corner of 5th and 13th, the Palladium and Luchow's were on 14th Street, and subway cars were covered with graffiti; when lofts in SoHo were dirt cheap, the Halloween Parade was a neighborhood-only event, MTV was playing music videos non-stop, and Cats was just about to move into the Winter Garden with an unheard-of top ticket price of $40 for an orchestra seat. It's memories like that which make me say to myself, like J Alfred Prufrock, "I grow old . . . I grow old . . . I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled."

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