Bus terminals in any city are always special places. They are crossroads for all the grifters, drifters, deviants, dead beats and drug addled zombies who circulate through this country, from city to city, doing whatever the fuck it is that they do. The Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) runs with this same concept, but just does it New York style: bigger, faster and more.
I remember what Time Square used to be like before it became the monstrosity that it is today; it was populated by pimps, junkies, hustlers, strip clubs and camera stores. The camera stores are the only things that are left. I used to visit NY a lot as a kid and I learned what 24/7 meant when my dad, his friend and I were walking through Time Square once. I saw a neon sign advertising that what went on inside happened 24/7. When I asked my dad what this meant, he said, â€œIt means you can see titties 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.â€
That Time Square is long gone (cleaning it up a bit may have been necessary, but they completely overshot the mark), but if you’re curious as to what it was like, just step foot into the PABT, for a toned down version (minus the strip clubs of course). Paul and I actually wanted to spend a night roaming the PABT and catalogue how many times we were solicited crack or pussy, but we never got around to it. I also managed to check out the upstairs bowling alley once, hoping for a gem of a dive bar, only to be let down by the fact that it had just been remodeled and was now a decent attempt at a swanky bus terminal bowling alley (really). Who knows, maybe this place is heading towards the up and up like it’s buddy Times Square. If so, you better drop in and observe this complete and utter fuck show while you can.
p.s. Make sure to check out the Ralph Kramden statue out front. Spousal abuse just hasn’t been as funny since Honeymooners went off the air.
Port Authority Bus Terminal
625 8th Ave. @ 42nd St.