The Devil's Playground
A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square
by James Traub
Random House, $24.95, 313 pp.
I wish I’d been around when New Yorkers went to Harlem in ermine and pearls, Fred and Ginger skated in Central Park, Ellington and Armstrong jammed on 52nd Street, and the Broadway theater had Eugene O’Neill, George S. Kaufman, and the Gershwins all at the same time. Back when New York ruled American popular culture, it was all pretty fabulous and urbane. New York’s dominance was undermined first, says James Traub, by the Depression,...
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