Dominic Ambrose Blogblot

of words: narrative, film and non-fiction

InterGloss of 1971-72, page 2: El Corso Ballroom to Luquillo Beach

Second page of the Nickel Fare Interactive Glossary of 1971-72. Begins at the historic El Corso Ballroom and ends at Luquillo Beach, now that’s a cool move.


NOTE: the glossary had to be broken up into separate pages, otherwise, the search engines would banish it for having far too many links.

El Corso Ballroom : at E. 86th Street and Third Avenue. The early years of the 1970s was a golden era of Salsa in New York. Clubs like the Manganette, and the Village Gate routinely booked bands that would become legendary. One concert by Fania All Stars on August 26, 1971 at the Cheetah, in fact, resulted in two double albums and a documentary film. The Corso Ballroom was a major venue in the Latin circuit of that era. Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Johnny Pacheco, Tito Puente and all the major Salsa bands played there. Click the link to Willie Colon to hear “El Gran Varon.”

The Electric Circus : a cavernous discotheque on St. Marks Place in the East Village, NY. Its day-glo paintjob and loud music made it noticeable from a block away. It represented the last word in hippie nightlife, both because of its daring break from tradition, and because it represented a final era of that movement.

GAA's lambda

GAA's lambda

The Firehouse Disco : The Gay Activist Alliance bought an old firehouse in the Soho district of Manhattan and turned it into the center of gay nightlife in 1971. The Saturday discos cost two dollars admission, including free drinks and great music. Needless to say, the four floors were packed with dancers. Ironically, the Firehouse eventually closed in 1974 due to a fire, but not before playing a major part in creating 70s disco culture and putting Soho firmly on the map.

Forty Second Street Cinemas : The theater row on Forty Second Street between Times Square and Eighth

42St Q & A

42St Q & A

Avenue. This was the heart of New York’s entertainment district during the earlier part of the Twentieth Century, but by the 1970s, it had become Forty-Deuce, a drug and hustler infested redlight district. Outsiders who obviously did not belong to this world were routinely targeted for harassment and scam. The historic theaters along this row, the Lyric, Apollo, Victory, New Amsterdam, Selwyn, etc. all became a part of the neighborhood economy. Click here for an interview with Anthony Bianco, author of Ghosts of 42nd Street.

Franklin Avenue Shuttle : Part of the New York City Subway system, this elevated line runs from Fulton Street to Parkside Avenue to connect the IND A and E trains to the B and Q lines going into South Brooklyn and ending at the Coney Island shore. A page dedicated to the Franklin Avenue line on Forgotten NY.

Fulton Street, Brooklyn : The main commercial street of Downtown Brooklyn and Bedford-Stuyvesant. It begins at the foot of the East River, where a ferry used to carry passengers (among them, Walt Whitman) to Fulton Street in Manhattan.

Gay Baths : The history of gay baths in New York go back a long way. The first recorded NYPD raid of a bathhouse was February 21, 1903. 26 men were arrested and 7 of them were sentenced to jail terms of as much as 20 years on sodomy charges. Things gradually eased up from there, and the baths entered their heydey in the years after Stonewall, when Barry Manilow, Labelle, Cab Calloway and Bette Midler performed regularly at the Continental Baths on the Upper West Side.

Franco's 2 suitors

Franco's 2 suitors

Generalisimo Franco : Right wing dictator of Spain. His forces defeated the Republican army in the Spanish Civil War, allowing him to topple the democratically elected government in order to set up his regime. He died in 1975, thus releasing Spain from decades of repression, isolation and economic stagnation. His long-awaited but drawn out death, during which he was kept on life support for an excruciatingly long time, was the subject of much irreverent humor.

goombah : A form of the word “compare” in Southern Italian dialects, this word can be used with varying meanings. Godfather, friend, kinsman. The Spanish form “compadre” is perhaps better known. See what people think about the word at the Urban Dictionary.

Governor Herbert H Lehman Ferry : This boat was built in 1965, and is one of the “Kennedy” class of boats. These boats could carry 3,500 passengers and 40 automobiles, and they were the newer ones in service in 1971. Nowadays they have been replaced by boxy modern boats with little outdoor seating and little style. Even older ferries, from 1938 and 1950 were in service in 1971. These had even more outdoor seating and were a beautiful sight on the water.

Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn : The formal entrance to Prospect Park. This traffic circle is dominated by a large monumental arch, designed by the architect of Grant’s Tomb in Manhattan. Many streets meet here, including Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway. The landmark Central library of the Brooklyn Public Library, opened in 1941, is also located on this Plaza.

Gypsy Rose Wine : a brand of cheap rosé wine that sold for about fifty cents a pint at that time. It was part of the E & J Gallo line of “pop” wines with high (20%) alchohol content that were popular among street people. The pint bottle was shaped conveniently to fit in your pocket.

haight ashbury homes Haight-Asbury : The San Francisco neighborhood that became a mecca for rebellious youth during the 1960s. It was symbolic of the hippie movement. During the 1970s it went into a period of major decline, with drugs and crime taking a toll on the quality of life. Since then it has enjoyed a rebirth, with its atmosphere intact. the New York City equivalent would be the St. Marks Place, East Village area.

Hell’s Kitchen : An area of midtown Manhattan west. It includes the area from 34th Street to 59th Street west of Eighth Avenue. The scattered residential streets in this central area of Manhattan were built up with tenements and Hell’s Kitchen used to be heavily Irish working class. However, it has been completely gentrified over the years.

Hookah : No, not the way New Yorkers call a prostitute. A water pipe.

Hot Peaches : A group of gay performers based in New York City who were popular in the early 1970s. Their outrageous drag and camp style under the direction of Jimmy Camicia, was revolutionary at that time, and broadened the boundaries of the acceptable. The San Francisco equivalent were the Cockettes.

Idlewild Airport : The former name of John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. The strangely evocative name “Idlewild” simply refers to a golf course of that name which occupied the area previous to the airport’s opening in 1947.

IND : one of the three historic divisions of the New York City Subway.

Isla Verde Airport : the old name for Luis Muñoz Marin Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is the busiest airport in the Caribbean.

Lares : A town in Puerto Rico where an uprising in 1868 signaled the beginning of the fight for independence from Spain. The revolt was easily put down, but it inspired the years of struggle. Puerto RicoFlag_of_Lares.svg finally did manage to rid itself of Spanish colonialism, only to fall into the hands of the United States. The situation has become ever more comfortable over the decades, and now a majority of Puerto Ricans are content with their island’s political status. However, for some people, Lares is the symbols of as yet unfinished business. The city is named after its founder, Lariz. The name Lares also refers to guardian spirits that protected homes and property in Ancient Rome. The relationship between the two meanings is purely whimsical.

Led Zepplin : a British rock group that were popular at that time. They formed in 1968 and included Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. They are one of the first heavy metal bands.

Los Tubos : A beach on Puerto Rico’s north coast west of San Juan. Los Tubos is located in the township of Manatí.

Luquillo Beach : A very popular and well-known crescent shaped beach east of San Juan.


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