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the building of Worldwide Plaza at 49th-50th (1986-1989) improved the immediate area but it wasn’t until about 1996 or 1997 where i started to see a significant improvement. in the area.
as a teen in the late 70’s mostly when i would pass thru this block of Eighth it seemed quiet but i do recall one time i saw prostitution and drug addicted people on this block, so i always wondered what it was like normally.
I think the Hollywood Twin Cinema was right next to B Smiths. Moulin Rouge escapes me. the Lighting Store, Ray’s Pizza, further up I recall well.
was 47th/48th on 8th Avenue as prostitution- infested as it was down by the Port Authority or was it tamer? would you see it by the Ramada(now the Hilton Garden), Firehouse and Blarney Stone(now its the Social Bar)? if so did the hookers hang out in groups with pimps or was there less “traffic” up there?
didn’t B Smiths bar/restaurant open around 1986 on the NW corner of 47th and 8th? wasn’t there the Haymarket Saloon across the street near the corner of 47th?
Ed I remember the Hollywood it was just across the curb from the flophouse hotel the Sherman (which is now an Econolodge). When you went to the Hollywood did you feel uneasy with the outside atmosphere? I don’t know why but i found 46th, 47th street north and 8th do be even creepier than further down toward the Port Authority.
yes i was thinking the Martin Beck was located in one of the worst locations—45th street just west of 8th Avenue back in those days. and Ed you answered my question about those characters that were hanging around the firehouse (now the Biltmore condo)—it was a flophouse thats what it was, that boarded up structure
back in 77 when i was 15 i went to the city a few times on my own. i asked my mom what was so bad/dangerous about the Times Square area/theater district, after all id been on 7th Ave and Broadway and tho i noticed a lot of porn/XXX places especially around the upper 40’s, it didn’t seem particularly dangerous tho not the nicest place either
my mom said it wasn’t 7th/Broadway that was the problem, it was the ‘sidestreets"
so then, was the area by the Adonis considered the “sidestreets”?
the Sherman Hotel (now an Econolodge) at 302 W 47th street was a notorious fleabag as was the Cort Hotel at 301 W 48th. I remember a Fulton Hotel at 46th and 8th.
how was W 48th between 8th and 9th back in those days? like where the Belvedere Hotel is.
yes it was a Days Hotel from 1994 to 2005 until it became a Hilton Garden. and from what i read it was a Ramada for quite a long time like back to 1973 at least. the hotel you mention was most likely the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge on 8th between 51st and 52nd on the west side of the avenue. Now it’s a Hampton
do you know what was in that row of boarded up buildings attached to the firehouse? back in 79 when i had that scare there was a bunch of scary looking people who looked drunk or high sitting on the stoop of the brownstone next to the Haymarket. probably an SRO maybe or a typical Hell’s kitchen boarded up tenement with squatters maybe?
so was 8th between 47th and 50th as wild and dangerous as further down? or was it a little tamer? would you see aggressive prostitutes and pimps or was it maybe a little better because you were reaching the end and you were also more into the theater district? did people going to matinees walk on 8th Avenue like you see today or did most theatergoers avoid it?
by the Ramada I mean the hotel at 790 Eighth Avenue between 48th and 49th (currently it is now a Hilton Garden Inn)
what about between 47th and 50th streets?
would prostitutes/pimps hang around the lobby of the Ramada or did they generally stay away from the more reputable hotels? its hard to imagine what guests would think when they would arrive at the hotel and see most of those blocks saturated with porn/XXX places
the HayMarket was at 772 8th Avenue(near the cor. of 47th a few doors down from Engine Co 54) and was actually 3 blocks down from The Adonis. tho its not my kind of place to go into i do remember passing right in front of it in the late 70’s and feeling very uneasy from the types of people who were hanging around that boarded up tenement. very frightening indeed. first time i saw a gay hustler was right there. i wondered how the Ramada Inn across the street attracted hotel guests with that kind of street atmosphere. well we know for sure we never ever see those types around there any more, now it all Starbucks, chain pharmacies and high rise condos…
was prostitution/drug dealing/street criminals as dense in the upper 40’s as it was closer to the Port Authority (like 42nd street, 43rd street, etc) ? i remember there was an awful lot of porn/XXX places even by the former MSG site that is now Worldwide Plaza
I understand that the Adonis was at the northern end of the Minnesota Strip. When I was a teenager back in the 70’s I noticed that most of the prostitution was centered closer to the Port Authority area, like around 44th 43rd, etc
Most of the time if i ever had any reason to walk on 8th Avenue in the upper 40’s back in those days it seemed quiet with hardly anyone around. However i do recall there was one afternoon when I noticed a lot of intimidating looking street hangouts (drunks, addicts, loiterers) on the block by the firehouse from 48th street going toward 47th, including a transexual hustler standing on the corner with their pimp. I remember being intimidated by the block so i ended up going east to avoid 8th Avenue
so, was the area between say 47th and 50th streets(the firehouse, the old Blarney Stone,the old Ramada Inn, the old parking lot that became Worldwide plaza) as heavy with prostitutes and criminals as it was further down? were there a lot of arrests for prostitution, drugs and other crimes between 47th and 50th? or was it safer and tamer?
there was a Tad’s too like there was on 42 bet 7-8th. In the 70’s I used to use the 42nd st and 6th Avenue subway station as an alternate to the Times Sq stations to go to and from the Port Authority because i thought it would be safer, but it was almost as bad as the Times Sq stations. and oddly, i remember XXX porn stores on 6th Avenue between 42-46th streets up to about 79 or 80 before they started building
“HOTEL” “LIQUORS” “XXX BOOKS” “PEEP SHOW” “PARK” “HARDWARE” were the main signs you would see on 8th Avenue in the 40’s
I think i remember you from the Hollywood Cinema board early last year.
you were lucky to have found hetero girls. my first trek down 8th Avenue in 1979 found only tranny hustlers instead of hetero ones. Right at 47th street, it didn’t even occur to me that prostitution was not only about hetero hookers. We ran like bats out of hell because we weren’t prepared for that kind of thing. I was 17 at the time too
in fact it was from that experience that made me leery of that part of 8th(this was by the old Biltmore property which at the time was a row of boarded up buildings) for quite awhile
oh yes, and what about between 1978 and 1980 when the old Lincoln Hotel at 700 Eighth Avenue (between 44th and 45th) was renovated into the Milford Plaza which opened in 1980. This is the one with the “M” on the roof you can see when you’re in the general area
do you have any recollection of what the old Lincoln looked like back then? If i had to guess it must have been terrible given the state of the neighborhood. must have looked horrid when undergoing renovation
what got me curious about the Ramada was i always could see the red RAMADA INN insignia logo on the top part of the building, which kind of lent an air of respectability to the street until you saw how awful the surrounding areas was, so i always wondered how that hotel managed
there was a Ho Jo’s Motor Lodge for decades a few blocks up between 51-52 street. recently it became a Hampton Inn
but the old Ho Jo’s Motor Lodge was right at the end of the prostitution district so i figured it was safer to stay there then the old Ramada
there is a Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza on B'way and 48th-49th that opened in the late 80’s, but it is several grades up from both the Ramada and HoJo’s
I just wondered what out of towners did when they arrived at the Ramada and were literally facing peep shows and XXX bookstores right across the street (right by the old Blarney Stone bar). did they go out at night on the town or take a cab back to the hotel?
do you remember the Ramada Inn on Eighth between 48th and 49th—in the mid 90’s it became a Days Inn and a few years ago became a Hilton Garden Inn when the area started to get “swanky”.
When Eighth was down and out back in the 70’s and 80’s before Worldwide Plaza was opened, I always wondered how the Ramada managed to stay in business with peep shows, XXX bookstores across the street, and all the drug selling and hustling in the area. Was that actually a tourist hotel or was it a fleabag? I remembered places like the Fulton Hotel (46th) and the Sherman (47th) were small little dives, but a national chain like Ramada sitting in the middle of all that mess, made me wonder how it survived
I remember seeing Beatlemania at The WInter Garden in September of 78 which i think was right next to the Rivoli. I always found that 46th-50th street area along B'way and 7th to be seamy but what really frightened me was 8th Avenue in the same spot like around the Venus, Capri, Eros Cinemas down by 46th, the Hollywood Cinema up by 47th, the firehouse by 48th and the big parking lot up by the old MSG. there were always types who seemed like they were under the influence hanging around those porn shops and the worst were those XXX bookstores
was it true that before the theater district cleanup, people who went to the theater left the area immediately after the show? I have often heard this that people left as soon as the show was over and wasted no time leaving the area
unless you had to cross eighth avenue between 40th and 50th street or had to cross 42 street between B'way and 8th Avenue to get back to your car or get the cab or whatever, except for those 2 spots most of the theater area was passable even after the show?
no because i always liked midtown—5th Avenue, 6th Avenue in the 50’s and 40’s. we rarely ventured past 7th Avenue back in the late 70’s or below 42 street
was prostitution on 8th Av around 48th-50th streets heavy as it was was further down or was it lighter?