Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. Most of you are aware that I’m an avid, if not fanatical reader. What you may not know, is that at one point in time, my life was all about music. I auditioned for the famous High School for the Performing Arts as well as Julliard in NYC. My eldest brother had moved to New York after his graduation from Harvard, and I spent a number of summers in New York during the mid-1970s. As a small-town girl from Charleston, West Virginia, I was awed by New York City, especially Times Square. As a result of my brother’s assistance with my auditions, the summers I spent visiting him, NYC will always have a special place in my heart. It is for this reason that I am very pleased to welcome Barbara Krasnoff, a contributor to the book New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst. Please help me welcome Ms. Krasnoff to the blog today. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say, perhaps reminisce about your own visits to New York, and perhaps add the book to your TBR list. Thank you, Ms. Krasnoff, for joining us, the blog is now yours.
Times Square, Then and Now
For New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst
by Barbara Krasnoff
Back in the late 1970s, three friends of mine from upstate New York decided that they wanted to see Times Square. I wasn’t particularly eager to join them. I grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Brooklyn, was already familiar with the area (having saved up for my share of standing-room spaces at Broadway shows), and found nothing particularly romantic about the porn palaces and sex shops that then populated the area, not to mention the various predators looking for unwary victims. But when they insisted, I figured it might be a good idea for them to have a local guide.
We got out of the subway at Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street, and walked east on 42nd towards Times Square. My friends slowly wandered down the street, chatting, looking at the movie marquees and bookstore signs, and paying no attention to what was happening in their immediate vicinity. I dropped back so that I walked several paces behind them, and kept watch.
Just as well. After a minute or two, a man who had been leaning against a building casually walked over so that he was just behind one of my friends (a young man who had not taken my advice about putting his wallet in his front pocket). The man looked around and caught my eye. We stared at each other for a very brief moment, then he grinned, and backed off.
I was very grateful when we hit Times Square proper. I never told my friends.
Today’s Times Square is, as we all know, a very different place. It is now a corporate wonderland full of tourist-friendly shops of the kind that you can find in any premium mall around the U.S. Of course, there are still the Broadway theaters (assuming you can afford a ticket), and New York is, well, still New York. I am grateful to be able to visit Times Square (well, pre-pandemic Times Square) without that sense of hyper-vigilance I used to feel was necessary, even if it means I have to fight my way through ridiculous costumed characters and stifling crowds of visitors.
But I have other friends — older friends who spent most of their lives in the city — who remember the dirty, dangerous Times Square of the 1970s and early 1980s as their Times Square, a seedy wonderland that belonged to them and not to the tourists. They sometimes wish they could have it back.
Remembering that incident — and others — I can’t really agree. But I do understand.
Meet the Author:
Barbara Krasnoff was born and raised in Brooklyn, and has the accent to prove it. She has had short stories published in over 45 print and online publications and is the author of The History of Soul 2065, a novel of interconnected tales. Her story “Sabbath Wine,” which was published in the anthology Clockwork Phoenix 5, was a Nebula Award finalist. When not writing speculative fiction, she earns her living as Reviews Editor at The Verge. You can find her website at Brooklynwriter.com or catch her on Twitter as @BarbK.
New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst
Presented by: Elizabeth Crowens
October 25 – November 19, 2021 Virtual Book Tour
An Anthology and Celebration of the Big Apple
I’m an unabashed, unapologetic lover of New York City, my hometown, and New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst is right up my dark, deserted alley. New York’s at its best when you sneak up on it, glance at its sideways, or let it glance sideways at you. The pros and photos in this collection all show New York’s best, even when they purport to be showing its worst; in NYC, that’s how we roll. A fine addition to your New York bookshelf, a collection to savor.
~ SJ Rozen, best-selling author of The Art of Violence
Genre: Coffee Table book of Photography with Short Stories
Published by: Atomic Alchemist Productions, LLC
Publication Date: Oct 25, 2021
Number of Pages: 150
ISBN: 1950384136, 9781950384136
Purchase Links: Amazon | BookBaby | The Mysterious Bookshop | Goodeareads
About New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst:
Writer and photographer, Elizabeth Crowens is one of 500 New York City-based artists to receive funding through the City Artist Corps Grants program, presented by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) as well as Queens Theatre.
She was recognized for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst, her photo-illustrated anthology, which brought her published book along with ten other authors to Mysterious Bookshop in Lower Manhattan at 58 Warren Street on Monday, October 25, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. for an in-store event and author signing along with a simultaneous Facebook Live presentation and recording for Jim Freund’s WBAI program Hour of the Wolf.
Author contributors include:
- Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of over 31 award-winning mystery and thriller novels, including the Jesse Stone series for the estate of Robert B. Parker. Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan.
- Charles Salzberg, former magazine journalist, crime novelist of the Shamus Award-nominated Henry Swann series, founding member of the New York Writers Workshop.
- Tom Straw, Emmy and WGA-nominated writer-producer, credits include Nurse Jackie, Night Court, Grace Under Fire, Whoopie, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Crime novelist under the pen name of Richard Castle.
- Randee Dawn, Entertainment journalist for Today.com, Variety, and the Los Angeles Times. Co-editor of Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles and The Law & Order: SUV Companion, and speculative fiction writer of the upcoming Tune in Tomorrow.
- Barbara Krasnoff, Reviews Editor at The Verge, over 45 published short stories, Nebula Award finalist, author of the “mosaic” novel The History of Soul 2065.
- Steven Van Patten, TV stage manager by day, horror writer by night. Co-host of the Beef, Wine and Shenanigans podcast, winner of several African American Literary Awards.
- Triss Stein writes mysteries that all take place in Brooklyn.
- Marco Conelli, former NYPD detective, consultant to Mary Higgins Clark, and Silver Falchion award-winner for young adult mysteries and the police procedural Cry For Help, taking place in The Bronx.
- R.J. Koreto, historical mystery writer focusing on New York during the Gilded Age.
- Richie Narvaez, award-winning mystery author of Hipster Death Rattle, Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, and Noiryorican.
- Elizabeth Crowens, over 25 years in the entertainment industry, member of the International Cinematographers Guild as a Still Photographer (Imdb.com credited: Sheri Lane), award-winning writer of novels in the Hollywood mystery and alternate history genres. Recipient of the Leo B. Burstein Scholarship by the NY Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Editor and photographer for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst based on her Facebook Caption Contests. elizabethcrowens.com, @Ecrowens on Twitter, and Elizabeth Crowens on Facebook!
Visit the stops on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, and guest posts from our hosts and authors!