Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

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NYU Press, Apr 1, 1999 - Social Science - 203 pages
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If one street in America can claim to be the most infamous, it is surely 42nd Street. Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, 42nd Street was once known for its peep shows, street corner hustlers and movie houses. Over the last two decades the notion of safety-from safe sex and safe neighborhoods, to safe cities and safe relationships-has overcome 42nd Street, giving rise to a Disney store, a children's theater, and large, neon-lit cafes. 42nd Street has, in effect, become a family tourist attraction for visitors from Berlin, Tokyo, Westchester, and New Jersey's suburbs.

Samuel R. Delany sees a disappearance not only of the old Times Square, but of the complex social relationships that developed there: the points of contact between people of different classes and races in a public space. In Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, Delany tackles the question of why public restrooms, peepshows, and tree-filled parks are necessary to a city's physical and psychological landscape. He argues that starting in 1985, New York City criminalized peep shows and sex movie houses to clear the way for the rebuilding of Times Square. Delany's critique reveals how Times Square is being "renovated" behind the scrim of public safety while the stage is occupied by gentrification.

Times Square Red, Times Square Blue paints a portrait of a society dismantling the institutions that promote communication between classes, and disguising its fears of cross-class contact as "family values." Unless we overcome our fears and claim our "community of contact," it is a picture that will be replayed in cities across America.

 

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User Review  - dawnpen - LibraryThing

If I remember carefully, the book is mostly about getting sucked by young boys in movie theaters before the conservatives wiped out the rauchy sections of NYC. I read this for a graduate seminar. When all is said and done, I paid thousands of dollars to take that seminar. Guess how I feel? Read full review

Times Square red, Times Square blue

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Times Square's emergence as a "safe" family entertainment mecca in the heart of New York City, suggests novelist and critic Delany, isn't necessarily for the better. He offers a cautionary tale on the ... Read full review

Contents

Times Square Blue
3
Part 2
109
Times Square Red
111

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About the author (1999)

Samuel R. Delany is a renowned novelist and critic, whose award-winning fiction includes Atlantic: "Three Tales" (1995) and "The Mad Man" (1994), as well as "Babel-17" (1966), " Nova" (1968) and "Dhalgren" (1975). Winner of the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime's contribution to gay and lesbian literature, he has been a professor of comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for the last decade.

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