At a meeting about climate control (or something), former president Bill Clinton talked about hookers and steak. Clinton, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, were at Gracie Mansion on Wednesday morning to announce that their environmental groups, Clinton Initiative and C40, would merge, but for people who like to giggle (everyone on the internet) the news has been overshadowed by Clinton’s semi-slimy reputation and how it dovetails with his charming recollection of visiting Times Square — the old and nasty Times Square, that is — when he was 18-years-old, back in 1964. “I remember everything about it,” he said.
From the New York Times:
When I was 18 years old in November of 1964, a freshman at Georgetown, I first went to Times Square. I bought a steak at Tad’s Steakhouse. I heard a guy ream his mother out, poor working woman, because she’d given him a hi-fi instead of a stereo speaker. I remember everything about it. I saw a hooker approach a man in a gray flannel suit. Pretty heavy stuff for a guy from Arkansas. My view is it’s way better now. You have to look at the overall numbers. Yes, look, I still have vivid memories of it. Romantic, fascinating.
It was dangerous from the point of crime and it was unhealthy from the point of public health. Furthermore, there are more people walking in Times Square today because you don’t have the traffic. The only thing is you have to account for a marginal increase in however inconvenient it is for people in a car … I think you did the right thing and I think there is no question that New York is better and the tourists are better off. And I love it.
He did a nice little pivot there at the end, but passion is passion. “Nostalgia for the good old days — when the good old days, most of us would say, weren’t good — I find strange,” Bloomberg added. Clinton probably sighed. All men are different.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 14, 2011