Imagine shuffling down Broadway through the hustle and bustle right into the nonstop, neon heart of New York City: 42nd Street.
Once a quiet neighborhood of brownstones and churches, the area wastransformed in the early 1900s into an entertainment hub unlike any in theworld. No place has ever evoked the glamour and romantic possibility of bigcity nightlife as vividly as did 42nd Street. It was the dazzle of "naughty, bawdy, gaudy" 42nd Street that put Times Square on the map and turned the Broadway theater district into the Great White Way. Ghosts of 42nd Street stirs your imagination as it takes you on a historical journey of this glamorized strip still known today as the Crossroads of the World. From the bold innovations of Oscar Hammerstein and Florenz Ziegfeld through the porn-laden 1960s and 1970s to the present-day "Disneyfication" of New York's bright lights district, Ghosts of 42nd Street is as fascinating as a tabloid frozen in time.
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Anthony Bianco is a senior writer at Business Week. He is the author of two books, The Reichmanns: Family, Faith, Fortune and the Empire of the Olympia & York and Rainmaker: The Saga of Jeff Beck, Wall Street's Mad Dog. He lives in New York City.From Publishers Weekly:
Business writer Bianco (Rainmaker: The Saga of Jeff Beck, Wall Street's Mad Dog) evokes many wonderful "ghosts" in his moving and dramatic story of the block that runs between Broadway and Eighth Avenue on 42nd Street (although the book is about the entire Times Square area). He starts with impresario Oscar Hammerstein, the German immigrant who built 10 splendid theaters in Manhattan between 1888 and 1914 (and whose fame was eventually eclipsed by that of his grandson, lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II). With dry humor and an admirable lack of sentimentality, the author surveys 42nd Street/Times Square from its heyday as an entertainment center, through its long decline, to its recent revival despite greedy promoters and reluctant politicians, whom he's not loath to name. Some readers may feel Bianco goes into too much financial detail about the deals that led to Disney and others transforming the street into the family-friendly place it is today, but theater lovers will find his comprehensive account the perfect house seat to a glorious past and a promising future. Photos not seen by PW.
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