"The history of Broadway has been written before, but never better. . . . The verbal energy that pours off these pages is enough to transform the hell of...Times Square into a rough-hewn heaven, neon lit and open all night. . . . The only thing wrong with this book is it isn't longer." —Newsweek
Nik Cohn ushers readers along the street he calls "The Heart of the World." producing a book that is a resplendent pageant of New York's high—and low—life. Among the characters we meet are a golden-tongued cab driver who calls himself a "collector of farces"; a pickpocket with the terrifying gift of impersonating his marks; a heartbreakingly beautiful Dominican transvestite named Lush Life; strippers; pseudo-prophets; and a disgraced political veteran of the days when the graft was still honest. Conducted by a writer with the manic energy of a sideshow barker and the full-blooded lyricism of a raucous poet, this is a bebop odyssey along the Great White Way that reaches in implication far beyond the streets of New York to document the ever-evolving mixtures that make up America itself.
"A lovely, bracing book, full to bursting with juicy, tasty, rancid life. While making its bawdy way through crowded spaces . . . it also travels through modern times . . . wondrous." —USA TODAY
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Moody, sweet-spirited survey of lowlifes, castoffs, and misfits along Broadway, from Battery Park to Times Square. Cohn (King Death, 1975; Rock from the Beginning, 1969) embraces everybody, standing up for thieves, transvestites, and grotesques with hearts of gold. In Battery Park, his Virgil is 20- year-old, drum-playing Sasha Zim from Moscow, a cabdriver in ``bomber jacket and Hawaiian shirt, jogging pants, lumberjack boots, a buffalo-head Western belt and a small silver crucifix,'' who learned English from daytime soap operas and says things such as, ``In taxi is university of all mankinds, what you don't know won't hurt you, what you do is killing you dead. Whole world is going Helen Handbasket.'' Sasha introduces Cohn to a Hispanic team of ``Liberty Boosters,'' pickpockets of the Liberty Bay ferry, one of whom is Stoney, who has ``the rapture'' (epileptic attacks during which God speaks to him) and to whom wallets leap if he merely ``consents to receive'' them. Moving into an eight-by-ten- foot room in Times Square's walk-up Moose Hotel, Cohn meets his young, dope-taking alcoholic transvestite neighbor, Lush Life, a vision in Passion Pink nail polish who left home at 15 and forever abandoned her real name of Geraldo Cruz. Cohn gives us much background on P.T. Barnum and his famed museum of freaks, on Hubert's Museum and Flea Circus in Times Square, on the Gilded Age and Evelyn Nesbit and Stanford White, on the sins of Robert Moses (whose rebuilding plans for the city, Cohn says, cast whole populations into the street), on the sex shops and the Metropole jazz bar (now gone topless) and McSorley's men-only saloon (now letting in women), and on Times Square's Chess and Checkers Club. He ends on chords that can only be called ashen. Striving like Whitman, not cynical, but at last quite desolate. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
This is a compelling and highly original journey up Broadway from the Battery to Times Square. The title comes from an old song about this famous street of broken dreams and promises. Two of Broadway's unique inhabitants--a punk Soviet emigre and a cross-dressing hooker serve as guides. Along the way we encounter many other unforgettable characters from the past and present. Images of the days of P.T. Barnum and the Flora Dora Sextette are juxtaposed with the harsh realities of today's drug pushers and porno merchants. All elements combine to make this a fascinating reading experience. Recommended for larger public and academic collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/91.
-Howard E. Miller, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Missouri Lib., St. Louis
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Vintage, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 99883104
Book Description Vintage, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099883104