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The New York Experience

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Roving Rube

Sept. 20, 2003

Tad's Steaks sign, 42nd Street

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"There's no better way to fuel up for our evening tour of the Square than with a charcoal-scorched, four-dollar side of Times Square beef. Tad's Steaks, at 50th and Seventh, provides the greatest of grease, from which you can emerge with full belly and slimy hands to descend upon the cheap thrills of the Square. There are five Tad's Steaks in Times Square ... where you observe the word's cheapest steak devoured by an infernal grill. It is the Lutèce of Skid Row. But part of the charm and ambiance of Tad's -- for anyone who leaves a few bites -- is watching a derelict descend upon your leftovers the moment you leave the table." (from Tales of Times Square, by Josh Alan Friedman).

The Tad's described is still there, the Rube thinks, though it is in a building that the first floor has been all boarded up at least once in his memory, and seems always in a transitional state. But the Times Square is not. How quickly we forget! The Rube bought "Tales" in '93 and it seemed to him then to perfectly to describe the place -- the book itself might be rated "XXX" if it were a movie. Now he can't really imagine it the way it was, except maybe if he were to go into a Tad's. There are at least four still in the "greater Times Square area", in which the Rube includes 42nd from Eighth to Sixth.

Gone too are the sex toys and ninja throwing stars which used dominate the souvenir stores, the guys mumbling "smoke smoke smoke" as you walked by, the shell games, the broad daylight muggings, the "don't take no-for-an-answer" panhandlers, all of which some of the Rube's friends seem to remember with nostalgia.

See also: Tad's Sign



































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