American swing, Plato retreat & hey days in 1970s

  • beaujangle

    Posts: 1698

    Mar 26, 2010 11:46 AM GMT
    I was watching a few documentaries this week on sexual liberation in the 1970s in society. Those days seemed so liberal. Today's documentary mentioned Plato's retreat, a straight bath house ( you can google search it). I also have watched the movie Woodstock and it was interesting.

    In general, have we become more conservative? These days, I feel so sick of hearing this and that sexual harassment allegations, etc.

    For older RJs, any comments? I feel I'm missing out ....
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    Mar 26, 2010 6:30 PM GMT
    I was never into that scene so I couldn't begin to tell you if we've grown more conservative. But I do have somewhat of a personal connection to Plato's Retreat...

    I'm not old enough to have patronized it but I knew the owner while I lived across the street from it! Once between jobs a friend recruited me to work as an agent at his new real estate office in the Village. There was an overweight fiftysomething year old salesman at the desk behind me who was always coughing and wheezing and hacking up a storm - I always felt bad for him, fetched him water and otherwise told him to take care of himself. He struck me as sort of a debauched uncle; Larry Levenson was his name. Later I found out that he was the cofounder of Plato's Retreat; coincidentally I was living across the street from the Ansonia, the building which had housed Plato's a decade before. By that point the landlord was warehousing (keeping vacant) the enormous beaux arts apartments for the Ansonia's eventual condo conversion. When the building converted you could pick up one heck of a one bedroom unit with a fireplace and elliptical foyer for $135,000. Now, the infamous indoor pool has long been drained and the Ansonia's been sold out for twenty years, filled with yupsters who may know all about its storied past from the sales brochures (home to Enrico Caruso!) but not its shady one.

    For those that don't know the Ansonia and its apartments, it was featured in the film "Single White Female," and like most media representations of how young hip single Manhattanites live (think "Friends," among others) it never plausibly explains how people in their 20s landed prime leases on insanely huge, atmospheric apartments at ridiculously low stabilized rents:

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    Mar 26, 2010 9:10 PM GMT
    eagermuscle, I can tell from your posts that you would be someone I could have a very long conversation with! Wish you lived here in South Beach. Did you really know Were you really friends with Tom McBride? I'm waiting with baited breath for "Life and Death on the A List" to come out on DVD.
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    Mar 27, 2010 1:12 AM GMT
    Thanks, m4m! Funny thing, I grew up on South Beach when the only gym was the Fifth Street Boxing Gym and the median age was 84. Might be time to visit!

    For those that don't know the thread muscles4muscle's referencing, it was entitled "Best Movie Quote Ever" - I said that in Friday the 13th Part 2 Tom McBride uttered one of the most underappreciated unintentionally funny lines in cinematic history: "Nothing's more obnoxious than a drunk in a wheelchair" and said I loved giving him hell for it. If you want to see my #1 pick for unintended hilarity, here's the link to that thread:

    Anyway, to answer your question...I wasn't good friends with Tom, merely an acquaintance (friend of a friend). Largely because I never let him get too full of himself. A few months after meeting him I was walking down Astor Place and spotted him walking towards me...I couldn't place him and couldn't help but stare as I tried. That was the summer posters of him in white painter's coveralls smoking Newport cigarettes were plastered over every subway entrance, so he'd be frequently recognized on the street (something he wasn't used to) and defensively look away. As he pulled that attitude with me he tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and almost kissed the pavement and I couldn't help but guffaw. Tom and I shared a few things in the following years, but a sense of humor wasn't one of them! I do miss him - he always had a way of making me laugh.

    Sorry if I'm hijacking this thread with my musings, beaujangle.
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    Mar 27, 2010 9:00 AM GMT
    . . . . "In general, have we become more conservative?" . . . uh, no

    . . . no, not all . . . the decline is evident everywhere . . . the Lonely Crowd is now mutilated and painted, and that's not surprising at all . . . they are just the progeny of the aspirationally middle class, yet aimless, tastless and poorly educated post-war proles . . .

    . . . their horrid grandkids campaigned for Obama the Cynic, and felt smug about it . . .