Bill Clinton Fondly Recalls Old Times Square, Hookers

Ex-prez remembers excitement, Mayor Bloomberg perplexed

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 15, 2011 2:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – New York City's Times Square is a lot safer than it used be, Bill Clinton says, but he's still a little nostalgic for the pre-Rudy Giuliani seediness. "I still have vivid memories of it. Romantic, fascinating," Clinton said, recalling a time when he was a wide-eyed 18-year-old visitor. "I saw a hooker approach a gray flannel suit. Pretty heavy stuff for a guy from Arkansas." Clinton said he feels that New Yorkers are definitely better off now that they have a sanitized—and pedestrianized—Times Square

"Now you can be my age and walk in Times Square and not get run down. That is pretty cool," he said, speaking at a joint appearance with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to announce the merging of their enviromental initiatives. The mayor didn't have any fond memories to share about the Times Square of old, the New York Daily News notes. "If you like crime, they had it," he said. "I suppose it's not what it was before. But the nostalgia for the good old days—when the good old days, most of us would say, weren't good—I find strange."

The section of Broadway that run through Times Square has been closed to cars in an effort to reduce traffic and pollution and cut down on pedestrian accidents.
The section of Broadway that run through Times Square has been closed to cars in an effort to reduce traffic and pollution and cut down on pedestrian accidents.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Pedestrians walk past Peep-O-Rama, the last porn store to close in the Times Square district, July 31, 2002.
Pedestrians walk past Peep-O-Rama, the last porn store to close in the Times Square district, July 31, 2002.   (Getty Images)
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