Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN Suns and such as I could out of the bin in the old Herald building basement where they were dumped after the news-editor was through with them. The old Irishman who stood guard over them knew what those papers meant to us. When I appeared, sneaking in, he always turned his back or sauntered out for a moment. But that's a gloomier note than I want to strike. I had my fun too. It was only a few minutes from our room over a beer-saloon to Chatham Square where the Bowery began, and times were seldom dull for a Bow- ery kid. There's been a lot of guff written and talked about the Bowery. People have tried to whitewash it, tried to make it out worse than it was, shot off their mouths about it right and left without ever knowing what they were talking about. The Bowery was shabby, drunken and tough, but it wasn't anything like as vicious as modern Broadway. In those times toughness hadn't yet moved uptown and mingled with Broadway and gone flashy. In the '70s, the Bowery and Broadway were separate worlds. When we Bowery kids ventured uptown into the legitimate theatrical district between Spring Street and 23rd Street the cops chased us away as if we'd been red Indians. And when Broadway had to come down to the Bowery, it put a gun in its pocket. The gun probably wasn't necessary, but that was the attitude. Our fun was pretty rigorous sometimes. By the time we were ten we'd split up into warring gangs. A sudden 16