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Down 42nd Street: Sex, Money, Culture, and Politics at the Crossroads of the World [Anglais] [Broché]

Marc Eliot

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Description de l'ouvrage

1 novembre 2002
For years, it loomed as the universal symbol for forbidden sex, theatrical glamour, mob muscle, and political influence. Today, thanks to an astonishing metamorphosis, it has emerged as the new century's favorite American family fantasyland. Naughty, bawdy, and wondrously revealing, this is the life story of the planet's most extraordinary thoroughfare. Parading some of New York City's most unforgettable characters -- including Ed Koch, Donald Trump, Jackie Onassis, Gerald Schoenfeld, and Rudy Giuliani -- bestselling author Marc Eliot portrays as never before the battle between the brothels and the theaters for control of the world's crossroads, the Syndicate's exploitation of pornography to set up a massive Times Square drug operation, and the chance in-flight encounter between the media heiress and the studio boss that planted the seed for "The Deuce's" sweeping Disneyfication. DOWN 42nd STREET is at once colorful social history, spectacular boardroom drama, and grand and suspenseful narrative spectacle. Book jacket.

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 2.7 étoiles sur 5  9 commentaires
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 YOU CAN HEAR THE BEAT OF 42nd STREET IN THIS READING 10 janvier 2002
Par Gail Cooke - Publié sur Amazon.com
You can almost hear the actual beat of New York's 42nd Street in this finely articulated reading by the author. You surely learn a great deal about the history of this fabled avenue of broken dreams that was once home to mob rule, illicit sex, on-the-take politicos, and glamorous denizens of the theatre both above and below ground.
Today it has morphed into a family playground boasting clean entertainment. The only Xs to be seen are where children stand to have their pictures taken.
"Down 42nd Street" opens in the 1890s when the Big Apple saw elegant townhouses and the emergence of Wall Street and entertainment moguls. As the new century dawned 42nd Street had become a business district to the east, and the home of show business to the west.
The aftermath of World War II saw the west side of the Street descend into drug dealer's turf with violent crime an everyday occurrence and prostitutes at the ready.
Both fascinating and informative "Down 42nd Street" is quite a trip!

- Gail Cooke
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Captures Feel of the Street, Despite some Muddy History 8 février 2002
Par Ricky Hunter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Marc Elliot's Down 42nd Street (Sex, Money, Culture, and Politics at the Crossoads of the World) may frustrate some history mavens looking for exact truth but will be a thrill to anyone who wants to read a book that truly captures the spirit of 42nd Street. The first part of the book is the historical buildup to the author's main playground, the years of fighting to fix the street from Lindsay to Giuliani (with a wonderful portrayal of Koch, for an added thrill) as the street moved from the Crossroads of the (Porn and Drug) World to a branch of the Disney franchise. The book does deliver the sex, money, culture, and politics of its subtitle, in very healthy doses. There are no startling revelations only many, many small thrills, much like the street itself. An enjoyable read.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Caveat Emptor: Enjoyable But Flawed 30 mars 2002
Par Steve Iaco - Publié sur Amazon.com
"Down 42nd Street" is a path I walk five days a week. It has been enjoyable to watch the stunning metamorphosis of this grand boulevard over the past decade or so. It was, therefore, with eager anticipation that I picked up this new history of 42nd Street.
On one level, it was an enjoyable read, offering illuminating anecdotes such as the encampment of George Washington's troops on the grounds of what is now the New York Public Library during the pivotal Battle of New York. In the 19th Century, the site would house the Croton Reservoir colossus. On the adjacent property, the Crystal Palace pavallion -- featuring the tallest structure in New York at the time -- became the City's premier social gathering place until it burned down while firefighters futilely tried to draw ground-level water from the high-walled reservoir. The demise of the Crystal Palace would clear the way for the development of Bryant Park on this site in the period after the Civil War.
The book is loaded with fascinating tidbits like these for people who enjoy history.
A good portion of the book is devoted to the spreading hegemony of illicit drugs, pornography and crime on West 42nd Street in the period after World War II, and the reclamation of the street in the 1990s. This is where "Down 42nd Street" falls down. The author -- an entertainment writer -- presents several misstatements that seriously tarnish his narrative. At one point, he asserts that Olympia & York owned Rockefeller Center -- hugh?? -- and contends that in 1981, "Governor" Cuomo dropped his opposition to the selection of a lead developer after Mayor Koch hinted at challenging the "Governor" in 1982. (Cuomo did not become Governor until 1983 following a primary challenge from Koch in the fall of 1982! Don't they employ factcheckers at Warner Books?)
The storyline really becomes muddled when describing the sequence of events in Times Square in 1990s, and it is clear that the author is out of his element here. He creates the appearance that the Conde Nast Building was the last of the four "elephant legs" in the 42nd Street Redevelopment Plan to be built. It was the first. He has Morgan Stanley purchasing its headquarters on Broadway and 49th Street AFTER the groundbreaking on the "elephant legs" when, in fact, the purchase pre-dated the Conde Nast groundbreaking by at least two years. He has Bertelsmann -- a true Times Square pioneer -- moving into its Broadway headquarters in 1999, about five years late. The list could go on.
These factual flaws diminish what started out as an enjoyable history. Caveat Emptor.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 From cattle trail to pedestrian mall 24 août 2002
Par Charles S. Houser - Publié sur Amazon.com
My native skepticism makes me distrust about one third of what I read in this highly engaging page-turner. And I suspect a careful historian or a reader who cared enough to do a little investigative research could catch author Marc Eliot on a number of factual and interpretive errors. Even so, DOWN 42ND STREET was a fun read. One of Eliot's most delicious vices is his ability to draw (nearly libelous) caricatures of many of the key players in New York's history, most notably its mayors. (For instance, this about Ed Koch's repsonse to the porn, drug, and prostitution situation on 42nd Street: "No problem, Koch insisted. Just leave everything to him. From here on in, he told one and all, it was going to be nothing but smooth sailing. After which, the smiling, gesticulating mayor, the ever-loquacious captain of the good ship "New York," led himself and the city straight into the worst political storm of his career.") The overweening journalistic style exhibits itself in Eliot's tendency to frequently end chapters with semi-mysterious cliff-hangers designed to keep us reading. It works, but I read on with a much eroded sense of trust.
If you're willing to look past all that, and if you appreciate seeing large complex chunks of history telescoped into compact coctail-party-sized anecdotes, you'll enjoy this brief history of a truly fascinating piece of New York real estate. And one thing Eliot makes clear is that it IS all about real estate (i.e., money). Enormous and bizarre egos clash in scramble for profits. The history of 42nd Street is the history of corruption and neglect on the part of public officials; fear, fascination, and indifference on the part of citizens and tourists; and greed held in check by caution on the part of the private sector. In other words, there has been enough ambivalence about 42nd Street to keep Midtown in limbo (if not hell) for almost five decades. Eliot depicts this dilemma well. He also discusses what has been missing from most newspapers' accounts of the "resurrection" of 42nd Street: the fact that it was Organized Crime under the leadership of the Teflon Don, John Gotti, that almost single-handedly engineered the descent of one of the world's most amazing entertainment capitals into a truly dangerous place to be, day or night.
Eliot's final assessment reflects many New Yorkers' cynicism about the Disney-ification of Times Square. With the influx of Mall-of-America type stores and a Toys-R-Us Ferris Wheel, can Ed Koch's pedestrian mall be far behind? Maybe so. But one thing is sure, 42nd Street is one street that never stands still.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 What a laugh! 4 janvier 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Having worked on 42nd Street for the past few years, this book intrigued me. But -- I have never read a bigger work of fiction! He is unable to get simple items such as people's titles correct, their bios, and in some cases the company they work for - - let alone know the accurate history of the block. This book is written like a tabloid and should be treated as such.
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