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Forty Second Street

( Originally Published 1930 )



FORTY-SECOND Street and Seventh Avenue . . . Everybody calls it Broadway. The Rialto Theatre. A hanging sign says it is "The House Of Hits". .. . But the big line is at the Paramount . . . Sight-seeing buses . . . Old women sitting in them . . . Making a living as decoys . See the Bowery .. . A lecture tour through Chinatown ... Why, all the Chinks own restaurants on Broadway .. .

There ain't no Chinamen in Chinatown . The chap who is shouting that he is going to point out the historic places . . . Did you know he only arrived here from Portland last week? . . . See the old man selling The Birth Control Review . . . He's doing it for the wife and kiddies. . .

"A million horns from motor cars,

A million lights that dim the stars . . ."

The Astor Hotel . . . Must have been nice when it was a big farm . . . More people live outside than in . . That drug store diagonally opposite . . . Gray's . . . You know, there's where you buy theater tickets at half-price . . . Best seats for all the "hits" in town . . . Isn't that a well-dressed man? . . . Tuxedo ... High hat ... He's got class ... Sure has poise . . . Must be some big society fellow ... Wait a moment and his shirt will light up, advertising a brand of cigar.

"That's Broadway, Broadway Heart of the World ... "

Loew's New York Roof . . . It's called the old men's club . . They go there to sleep ... Did you know it once had an elegant French name and housed the first Ziegfeld Follies? . . . There's a nut embarrassing couples by trying to make the girl take a rose and make the fellow pay for it ... Another Nedick thirst station . . . Hungry, have a hot dog, too ... Just like Coney Island ... A shabby, fate-beaten old man . . . Once was a great architect and built many theaters ... He now haunts the lobbies of those theaters .. .

"A painted smile, a hard-luck tale,

A helping hand—they're all for sale, On Broadway, Broadway. . ."

A Lucky Strike display station . . . Try to edge your way near the window . . . The blonde is worth seeing . . . Better than most chorus girls ... Don't have to pay $ 5.50 either ... The fight at Madison Square Garden round for round in the doorway of a sheet music shop ... And if you're interested in art, you can look at the picture postal cards also .. . Childs . .. See them tossing buck-wheat cakes ... This is their Broadway place .. . Only the best performers work here .. . No new-comers . . . The crowd is too large and critical . . . Newcomers always get stage fright ... An-other United Cigar store . . . Say, if they prohibited smoking where would we find telephone booths? . .. The Palace across the street ... It used to be the dream of all vaudevillians to play there . . . Now if the movie houses don't get them, they're there .. .

And there's a crowd there lauding you and applauding you

When you're on top;

Same crowd hissing you and dismissing you

If you should flop ..."

The photomatic .. . You take your own picture .. . Eight for a quarter ... They're all ready to take home in five minutes .. . Say, isn't this a wonderful age? . .. Let's get tomorrow's paper today and see what has happened tomorrow .. . This age sure is great .

But those who fail must learn to say Tomorrow is another day ..."

Here we are at Fifty-second Street ... Just ten blocks ... It's dull from here up ... Broadway's a small place, isn't it? ...Just ten blocks

...Ten blocks for all the world to get famous in.

"That's Broadway, Broadway, The Heart of the World...."

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