In a previous piece I described how Mae West funded her scandalous 1927 play sex through her romance with the rich, handsome, but very dangerous gangster Owney Madden. However, it was the poor, but handsome bag man of the gangster who made West an American icon.
In 1927 the Acting Mayor of New York Joe McKee, scandalized by the drama’s frank sexual portrayals, had West and the rest of the cast arrested. The arrest was a publicity gold mine and sex and West were the words on the lips of all New Yorkers. When the cops jailed Mae the gangster’s connections with Blackwell’s Island warden earned Mae a private cell and silk underwear. She even dined with the warden every night and left after six days being let out early for good behavior. Upon her release she quipped, “It was the first time I ever got anything for good behavior.”Continue reading →
In my book about local history, Greenpoint Brooklyn’s Forgotten Past, I told the story about how in 1927, local Greenpoint gal Mae West scandalized New York by staging a play called Sex, which presented prostitution and so outraged the acting mayor of New York that he had Mae and the cast arrested. The arrest catapulted West to stardom, but I only knew half the story. The real life drama behind the staging of the play is every bit as salacious as West’s racy drama.
Staging a Broadway play has always been an expensive proposition, and it was beyond the means of West, who in 1926 was an out of work actress. West, however, was resourceful and if she did not have money, then there were men who did; so she decided to use her considerable feminine charms to finance her Broadway drama. Continue reading →
We’ve been pretty concerned lately about the looming black hole of public transit that will be Greenpoint this Summer. As you may remember, we found out back in March that the G will be suspended for 5 weeks (July 26th through Sept. 1), between Nassau and LIC, due to Sandy-related repairs under Newtown Creek. In addition, the India Street ferry doesn’t seem any closer to being repaired, leaving Greenpointers to depend on shuttle busses for their commutes during the month of August.
Today it seems that the city has figured out at least one solution to ease the pain… well “solution” is a strong word, so let’s just say they put a half-hearted bandaid on it. During the G closure, riders will be able to transfer to the JM train at the Broadway G stop. According to the Daily News, the new system will allow riders to exit the G at Broadway and walk a few blocks to the J/M stop at Lorimer for a free transfer. That’s nice for people who live near the Broadway G stop or further south along the G and need an efficient way to get to Midtown (those who would normally take the G to Court Square), but there’s still a major hole in the system: how do people who live near in North Greenpoint get to Broadway if they have no access to the G?? Continue reading →