I *AM* BIG. IT’S THE *PICTURES* THAT GOT SMALL! “
There’s nothing tragic about being fifty. Not unless you’re trying to be twenty-five.”(Joe Gillis/Sunset Boulevard)
My eyes are always open as I walk around New York, but I also have my ears open at all times – no iPod! As I turn the corner of 49th Street and Seventh Avenue I overhear bits of a conversation that fascinate me instantly. “I used to strip right ovah there, I made big money. They treated us girls good in those days.”
On the ground, cozied up to a handbag street vendor is a faded aged stripper with jet black hair and jet black outfit to match. Her low halter top is barely staying up from the weight of all the diamond broaches she has pinned to it. Her hand rattles from the diamond studded bracelets she is wearing, her fingers snarled with age. The toes are painted silver to match the stiletto shoes. Her face has seen one too many facelifts and the makeup is heavy. Her voice low and gravely: “Not all the girls kept their figure like me, I still got it . . . you think so honey? I was the lead stripper, right ovah there!” The south African faux handbag salesman is beat by the heat and just listens in amazement of her retelling of the Times Square that once was. She is pointing to the current Seventh Avenue strip club called ‘Lace’, a meager shadow of what it once was in the 1960’s and 70’s.
As she talks to him, I remember – purple hued light coming from out the door, big neon lit marquis overhead. Painted white windows on each side of the entranceway with just a small round clear hole that had a glimpse of the bar. When the doors opened and closed as the gentlemen came and went, you could get a titillating glimpse of the girls in their pasties dancing to the sexy music in a trance on the bar. I thought it was wonderful.
“How much is the Gucci bag?” a tourist asks, he has to get back to work.