Times Square was way better when the Disney Store and Red Lobster were shooting galleries and brothels.
Times Square wasn't always the hellscape of capitalism run amok it is today. Hard as it is to believe, fanny-packed tourists and Herculean chocolate candy didn't always reign supreme at the Crossroads of America. Yes, the ancestors of today's Times Square inhabitants were crackheads and transvestites, and the buildings now occupied by the Disney Store and Red Lobster were once shooting galleries and brothels housing 300-pound whores. Ahhh, sweet mem'ries.
Luckily, that Times Square is still alive in The Forty-Deuce, a new book of photos taken between 1983 and 1984 by Bill Butterworth set to be released by Powerhouse in June. Bill wasn't a "social tourist," photographing the misfits of 42nd street as an outsider, he was one of them. He made a living selling his medium-format portraits, and in the process created a record of a time and way of life that the people walking around Times Square right now probably can't imagine.