Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville:
Excavating Manhattan's Lost Places of Leisure

David Freeland

New York University Press / ISBN 0814727638 (2009)

What used to be in New York? How important, or exciting was it? How much is left?

The author explores each of these questions in relation to certain areas (Bowery, Harlem, etc.)
block by block, building by building, and often house by house. He finds the tiniest vestiges of
what was once a nightclub or a theatre, an actors club or an automat. Look up here and you'll
still see some of the original ceiling molding, and on the side of that building you can just make
out the faded outlines of an old sign. But what it used to be in its days of glory!

Strangely enough he says little about what actually has been preserved and restored, although
I'll grant you that compared to what has been lost (I won't list the theatres for fear of weeping)
it is too little, too late. But how nice it would have been if he could have ended the book with
one success story... and I'm thinking here of the New Amsterdam Theatre.


dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.9 in / 1 lb / volume: 320 pages


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