The Forbidden Apple: A Century of Sex & Sin in New York City

Overview

"Theres a great history of racy entertainment covering itself, if scantily, in a cloak of righteous education. Kat Long describes these protective measures, or ruses...Long also chronicles the way that initiatives to eradicate vice only helped pave the way for its further evolution in the city."—New York Times Book Review

"[Kat] Long covers the great upheavals that have pushed the advantage in the sex wars one way or the other..."—Village ...

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Overview

"Theres a great history of racy entertainment covering itself, if scantily, in a cloak of righteous education. Kat Long describes these protective measures, or ruses...Long also chronicles the way that initiatives to eradicate vice only helped pave the way for its further evolution in the city."—New York Times Book Review

"[Kat] Long covers the great upheavals that have pushed the advantage in the sex wars one way or the other..."—Village Voice

“Long's The Forbidden Apple is a fast-paced and vivid overview documenting the conflicts between evangelical moralists and defenders of sexual expression, commercial and otherwise.  Anyone interested in New York City or sex will have to pick this up.”—Timothy Gilfoyle, author, City of Eros and A Pickpocket’s Tale

“Long has provided a fascinating overview of sex in New York City since the Civil War.  Everything you always wanted to know—and a lot you would never have suspected!”—Kevin Baker, author of Strivers Row, Paradise Alley and Dreamland

The Forbidden Apple: A Century of Sex & Sin in New York City reveals the endless battle between outlaw sex and moral righteousness that has been fought on the streets of America’s most licentious city.

Beginning with Gilded Age New York, where upper-class men of society routinely slummed with prostitutes and burlesque dancers—then wrote scathing condemnations of the “Lost Sisterhood” for the next day’s papers—and ending with Rudolph Guiliani’s crackdown on the city’s sexual life, The Forbidden Apple details the major trends in New York’s sexual history, including the Victorian-era battles over prostitution; the women’s movement at the turn of the twentieth century; the hedonistic roaring twenties; the rise of Times Square as the city’s sexual epicenter in the 1940s and 1950s; the birth of the gay rights movement in the 1960s; the decadence and pornography of the 1970s, and the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

The first-ever comprehensive sexual history of New York City, The Forbidden Apple shows how many of this country’s most important sexual trends got their start in New York, and also demonstrates how the repressive forces of morality and decency have waged war against the forces of sexual liberation and freedom throughout the city’s history.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From brothels on the Bowery to the crusade to retake Times Square, journalist Long ("chief writer" of the guidebook Sexy New York City) examines the bawdiest characters and exploits in New York City's history, and those determined to ruin the fun. Contextualizing the gritty, bopping, libidinous culture that most associate with New York in the 20th century, Long introduces readers to outcasts of all kinds, outraged moralists like Anthony Comstock and Ed Koch, popular Prohibition-era dances (the Charleston, the Black Bottom, the Lindy Hop), and iconic phenomena like the film Deep Throat. Long also covers civil rights milestones for gays and women (the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the 1970 Women's Strike for Equality), and her reach, for much of the book, is far enough to make an apt general history of the city from Reconstruction. Unfortunately, Long's fastidious research hasn't discouraged a decidedly liberal bias ("free love" gets unconditional respect, Gov. Giuliani's clean-up initiatives are condemned on sentimental grounds). Further, the final chapters focus narrowly on Times Square, devolving into a somewhat tiresome diatribe/eulogy. Long should capture the interest of New York history aficionados, but only if they tend to share her lefty permissiveness and it-was-better-when sentimentality. 11 b&w photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780981504001
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 1,450,643
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Kat Long is a journalist and author specializing in sexuality and the social history of New York. She was the chief writer of two editions of the best-selling guidebook Sexy New York City and is the former managing editor of GO NYC Magazine. She has published numerous articles in Playgirl, the Village Voice, BUST and other media.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 9

1 The Dastardly Do-Gooders, 1873-1918 15

2 Modern Madness, 1919-1929 49

3 Burlesque and the Bishop, 1930-1940 69

4 The Undesirables, 1941-1955 95

5 Prurient Interests, 1956-1968 117

6 Your Most Fantastic Fantasies, 1969-1979 143

7 Rise and Fall, 1980-1993 181

8 Disney vs. the Dirty Debutantes, 1994-2000 221

Epilogue: The Wickedest City 246

Notes 250

Bibliography 274

Index 282

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