A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 20, 2004
Forty Deuce (42nd Street)
"Forty Deuce," or "Deuce" for short, is (or was) West 42nd Street, between Sixth Avenue and Eighth Avenue. The term dates from the seedy 1960s and 1970s, when the block contained porn film houses. The area was redeveloped in the 1990s.

"Forty Deuce Street" has been cited in print since at least 1969, and "The Deuce" since at least 1981. "The Deuce" is mostly of historical interest, but the American drama television series of that name (referring to the area in the 1970s) in 2017 helped popularize the nickname.

There is an intriguing cite that is much earlier, however. "Yes; I know where I ought to be right now -- at the corner of Forty-deuces street and the Big road" (42nd Street and Broadway) was printed in the Washington (DC) Post (from the New York World) on April 11, 1910.

Wikipedia: The Deuce
The Deuce is an American drama television series created by David Simon and George Pelecanos. The series' pilot began filming in October 2015 and was commissioned in January 2016. It is broadcast by the premium cable network HBO in the United States and premiered on September 10, 2017. HBO made the pilot available through its video-on-demand services and affiliate portals on August 25, 2017.

The Deuce features an ensemble cast that includes James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal. It tells the story of the Golden Age of Porn, the legalization and rise of the porn industry in New York City that began in the 1970s. Themes explored include government and police corruption, the violence of the drug epidemic and the real-estate booms and busts that coincided with the change. The show's title is derived from the nickname for 42nd Street between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue.

11 April 1910, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 5, cols. 1-2:
Irvin S. Cobb, in the New York World.
"Yes; I know where I ought to be right now -- at the corner of Forty-deuces street and the Big road."
(Forty-deuces street = 42nd Street. Big road = Broadway. -- ed.)

19 May 1969, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, "Reason, Patience Triumph as an Image Changes," pg. 55, cols. 2-3:
"Who wants to wind up selling The Times on Forty Deuce Street?"

Who indeed? Nobody wants to go through college and wind up selling papers on 42nd St. or any other street.

22 July 1975, New York (NY) Post, pg. 71:
Making a living through shoplifting, mugging, and prostitution on "Forty-Deuce Street."

Newspapers.com (This image is a reprint in the Fort Lauderdale News. -- ed.)
25 July 1975, New York (NY) Times, "On TV: A Play by a 15-Year-Old Pinero Protege" by John O'Connor, pg. 61, col. 1:
On "Forty-Deuce Street," however, Mr. Rodriguez met Miguel Pinero, author of "Short Eyes" winner of the 1973-74 Drama Critic Award.

22 September 1981, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), "So others may learn, a teenager tells of days in prostitution" by David Michael Ettlin, pg. D4, col. 3:
Karen saw a lot of midtown Manhattan's sex-and-drugs district. "You go around the corner and you got 'The Deuce' -- that's 42nd Street -- and all the horror and sex movies."

March/April 1985, Film Comment, "Fanzines" by Jack Barth, pp. 24+:
A new spate of gritty, shocking fanzines covers nightmare films that exist beyond all limits of taste or violence. The finest, Bill Landis' Sleazoid Express, is like a ham radio report from the frontlines of 42nd Street (The Deuce); and reading Donald Farmer's Splatter Times is like getting thrown into a Southern hell-hole.

OCLC WorldCat record
The Forty-Deuce : Times Square 1983-1984
Author: Bill Butterworth; Hilton Ariel Ruiz; Beatriz Ruiz
Publisher: New York : PowerHouse ; London : Turnaround [distributor], 2011.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Forty Deuce : Crime, Pimps, Prostitutes, Junkies... Welcome to the putative insider's portrait of the world of male hustlers
Author: Kevin Bacon; Orson Bean; Mark Keyloun; Paul Morrissey
Publisher: [s.l.] : TwistedAnger, 2015.
Edition/Format: DVD video Computer File : English
"Paul Morrissey's super-sleazy look at Times Square hustlers follows a group of pimple faced male prostitutes as they try to sell a dead 12-year old boy to a rough trade chickenhawk for blow money. Starring Orson Bean as the chickenhawk and a very young Kevin Bacon as the "head" hustler! See Bean smoke angel dust! See Bacon vomit in the Port Authority men's room! See the Deuce before it became Metro Disney! Savvy collectors have been searching for this one for years and now here it is: uncut, letterboxed and in exellent quality!".

A Look Back At The Real Deuce: Times Square In The 1970s
The new HBO series The Deuce, which premieres Sunday (though the first episode dropped a little early for streaming), is set in 1970s Times Square.
The Deuce, by the way, was a nickname for West 42nd Street between 6th and 8th Avenues; here's a little look back: ...
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Tuesday, July 20, 2004 • Permalink

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