Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

times-square-red-times-square-blueThis is an old book, published in 1999, right before the New York City nostalgia craze began. The author, Samuel R. Delaney, is a science fiction writer and professor at Temple University, descended from the illustrious Delaney line, from whom also descend the Delaney Sisters who authored Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters First 100 Years. He reminisces about going into the old Roxy Theater and having sex with men in the balcony, among other vices. In the first chapter, 1996, the old Times Square had mostly disappeared. AIDS had driven the health department to shut down a lot of venues, then the porno theaters closed, and the city was looking to tear down the whole block.

Delaney admits that it was always the same crowd at the porno theaters, and there wasn’t much business there. He writes about using his visits to cruise for gay sex as a starting point for the book, and he gives some information about a few of the people he met there. But he doesn’t really describe the places, and a lack of photos is confusing.

I know for a fact that by the 1990’s there was hardly any profit to be made there anymore. The coin-operated peepshow booth had cut into the theater business, then the VHS rental cut into those by letting you watch it in private, and then the internet put all three of them out of business. Most of the porno theaters were decrepit and falling apart by 1990 anyway.

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