News Rocker Wishes Times
  Square a Gritty 100th
Reprinted from:
April 21, 2004


Press Release  
NEW YORK, N.Y. — To commemorate the wilder side of Times Square at its 100th birthday, rock poet Allen Shadow will give away copies of his song "Crossroads of America," a paean to the site's infamous gritty past.

"Crossroads" invokes the spirits of Jack Kerouac, bebop jazz greats, grifters, street hustlers and sideshow personae as it laments the city's lost edge. The song even features a surreal scene with Minnie Mouse to mock the square's Disney-era cleansing.

The Times Square anthem is featured on Shadow's critically-acclaimed album, "King Kong Serenade." The CD offers a raw portrait of Gotham, from its famed icons to its ill-fated ghosts.

The Berkshire Eagle calls Shadow "an original storyteller, painting vivid portraits of the romance and terror of life in the world's greatest city." NY Rock says, "The disc ("Serenade") smokes and burns like steam coming out of a manhole cover, gritty and authentic…"

Times Square, which turned 100 April 8, will be honored in city celebrations through 2004 by the Times Square Alliance. The nonprofit business organization will top off the festivities with a commemorative 100th anniversary New Year's Eve extravaganza ushering in 2005.

New York City Mayor George B. McClellan officially changed the name of Long Acre Square to Times Square on April 8, 1904 in honor of the New York Times building. Over the coming decades, the 39-square-block district became a hub for theater, restaurants and nightclubs.

Once a mecca for high society, by the 1960s the crossroads had become a seedy haven for drug dealers, con artists and prostitutes. In the 1990s, city Mayor Rudolph Giuliani began cleaning up the square, making it more family-friendly.

Nevertheless, the square's seedy era served as inspiration to countless writers, artists and musicians. During the mid-20th century, Beat writers and jazz artists, in particular, drew upon the district's dark side.

Free copies of "Crossroads" will be available through the Web site Shadow's songs are also available on such download services as iTunes.


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