Amoeblog

WHAT IF TRAVIS BICKLE CAME BACK TODAY?

Posted by Billyjam, March 9, 2008 05:34am | Post a Comment

You know that part in Taxi Driver when Robert De Niro's Travis Bickle character utters those lines about wishing that "Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets."  That eerily memorable bit from Martin Scorsese's landmark 1976 movie captured a totally different time in the history of New York City - a time when the city was bankrupt and grimy.  It was a time when the Bronx, which looked like bombed out Berlin (circa WWII), was visited by Ronald Reagan like a state leader visiting a war torn faraway land - except it was one of the five boroughs of America's main city.

It was a distant time that could be a hundred years ago, not just a few decades, considering just how very much New York City has transformed since then.  Today the midtown Times Square area of New York City (along & surrounding 42nd Street on Manhattan's West Side) is a radically different place than the one it was back in the mid-seventies; the area that was so effectively captured in Taxi Driver as Travis Bickle's cab crawled along in slo-mo, taking in every nuance of the rundown, scuzzy and scary area that was rampant with X-rated movie theaters, hookers, junkies, pimps, and street-wise con men lurking on every corner, ready to rip off gullible marks.

Today that same stretch of 42nd Street and Times Square is another world altogether, with the cheap eateries and strip clubs and X rated movie theaters replaced by back to back chain outlets like Starbucks, McDonalds, and of course the Disney stores -- hence the so-called Disneyfication of New York City that has slowly come about since the nineties -- a current trend in the US that is by no means limited to NYC.

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