Black Cracker presents

Tales of Times Square: The Tapes

By Josh Alan Friedman

This podcast presents voices of strippers, old fighters, burly-Q men, peep show girls, hustlers, cops and the priest who tried to save them.

I’m Josh Alan Friedman, reporting to you from Times Square in the ’70s and ’80s. The people you will hear—now ghosts of Old Broadway—spilled their souls for my book, Tales of Times Square.

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Listen to the Latest Episodes

#8: Holy Cross

Josh Alan Friedman, Tales of Times Square

The Catholic Church Vs. Times Square.
Three priests of Holy Cross Church witnessed the rise and fall of Times Square. Father Robert Rappleyea, pastor during the era of porn, saw the human condition reach bottom. He put up a bold front.

#7: King Heroin

THE TOAST OF BROADWAY. A lightweight contender in the 1920s, Manny Rosen worked in the kitchen of the Stage Delicatessen for 32 years—in charge of making toast. But he also wrote “King Heroin” for James Brown, after losing his daughter to heroin. He became the right-hand man of Bob Anthony, “Mr. Burlesk,” in the Melody…

#6: The Peeps

LIVE NUDE GIRLS 25¢. Peep Shows were a phenomenon as common to Times Square as slot machines to Las Vegas. Live Nude Girls became the neon community catchphrase. We visit Roger K as he creates the technology in his private laboratory at Show World.

About the podcast

Writer-guitarist Josh Alan Friedman was born in New York City in 1956. He was Senior Editor of Screw magazine when most of these cassettes were made on the fly. In a city of 50,000 writers, Josh was nearly the only one covering the Times Square beat, for the men’s magazines of the era. (His parents might have preferred he work for The New Yorker, but he also wrote for National Lampoon, Soho Weekly News and New York magazine.) By 1987, he’d had enough and followed his wife to Texas, a year after Tales of Times Square—the subject of this podcast—was published.

About the music in this podcast

The intro to this podcast uses Josh’s acoustic guitar cover of “Theme From Shaft,” from his new album, Sixty Goddammit.
Incidental music appears from Josh’s albums throughout the podcast: Famous & Poor, The Worst!, Blacks ’n’ Jews, Josh Alan Band and Sixty Goddammit.