All Prices – All Ages
Boys are for sale in this city. Twelve year old boys are selling themselves for 10 dollars at Times Square. Pimps are selling teenagers for 50 dollars every night at 53rd Street and 3rd Avenue. Lonely runaways are met at the Port Authority Bus Terminal by pimps, lured away by the promise of a free meal, and then beaten into prostitution. Boys, kept high on ups and heroin, are exhibited in a Christopher Street restaurant; ask and you’ll be told their prices. And for 100 dollars a call service will deliver the type of boy of your choice.
This is the world of chicken hawks, those men who enjoy sex with boys not much older then 16, and their chickens, those boys who out of desire, fear or pain, submit. It is a world of prostitution, beatings, drugs, and white slavery. And it is a world of big dollars, pimps living well off their stable. The high spending chicken hawks include a well known professional athlete, a television newscaster, a high church official, and numerous actors.
The centre of young male prostitution in this city is Times Square between 7th and 8th Avenues. Every afternoon groups of young boys, boys mostly aged 11-14, can be standing around Times Square store fronts. These boys largely Puerto Ricans, are for sale. You can go up to them or they will go up to you, it is that open. Business is conducted right on the street. A price is named and a boy will disappear into a movie theatre with a john, or for more money, into one of the cheap hotels near the Port Authority building.
These boys, the 10 dollar an hour boys, are independents. They are into the scene for usually one simple reason: the money. The word has spread around the South Bronx that money can be made by allowing yourself to be used by an old man in a movie. Ten dollars can be made for 10 minutes work. So each afternoon and evening, groups of boys come down to Times Square and hang around. The money is good, so no one complains.
Soon, though, these kids either leave the scene or are forced to work for a pimp. The pimp promises to get you more johns at higher prices. If you need a place to stay, the pimp will put you up. The pimp will house you, use you, sell you to his customers and then pass you onto another pimp when he tires of you. What happens if a boy wants to leave a pimp? He cannot. It is impossible. Thirteen year old boys are forced to become addicts, are chained to their beds, are beaten, are disfigured by lighted cigarettes. When a boy works for a pimp, he works until the pimp decides to let him go.
Since the most requested commodity by chicken hawks is a new face,, the pimps are always looking for new boys. The pimps stand like vultures around the Port Authority bus terminal waiting to descend on runaways. A young boy need only to get off the bus, a knapsack on his back, walk a few confused steps in the big city, before a nice man will offer him a free meal and a place to stay. Too often the boy accepts. By that night the boy has been broken in. He becomes the victim of what is called on the street, the rape artist. The boy is beaten. Perhaps he is drugged. And he’s working. All the money he makes goes to the pimp. All the child receives is a few meals and enough to keep him too stoned to resist. He is now part of the stable, a chicken sold from john to john until the pimp tires of him.
Since last June, Captain Kenneth Gussman and a special squad of six men from the police’s Public Morals Division have been trying to crack down on this business of selling boys. Working with Assistant District Attorney Robert La Russo, Captain Gussman’s squad has been responsible for 64 indictments. A look at the arrest sheets reveals the following:
- A 15 year old pimp arrested for selling two boys. The boys are aged 12 and 13.
- A pimp aged 14 booked for selling another 14 year old.
- A pimp aged 19 booked for selling a 16 year old.
- A pimp aged 17 booked for selling a 17 year old.
And the list of child pimps and prostitutes grows.
The Captain’s squad has also arrested the older professional pimps. These men freed on bail, can be seen hanging around Times Square most every evening. For example:
- Hollywood Al, a seaman indicted for promoting prostitution, endangering the welfare of children, sodomy and sexual abuse. Hollywood Al gets his street name from his sunglasses. He is known to every chicken hawk in the city. He can be found on Times Square any afternoon or evening.
- Ace the Spade, a black pimp, indicted for selling a 12 year old. Ace specialises in white runaways.
- Cigar Murray, who runs a call boy operation out of the Village hotel he manages. Cigar Murray was indicted for promoting prostitution.
- Sideburn Eddi, indicted for sodomy, sexual abuse, endangerment of the welfare of a minor, and unlawful imprisonment of a child. Until his indictment Sideburn Eddie was a psychologist at Kings Park hospital where he worked with disturbed children. Sideburn Eddie was finally arrested after allegedly keeping two brothers locked in his apartment for days. The brothers, according to the police report, were repeatedly raped by Sideburn Eddie and other men. How did the boys get to his apartment? They were taken from their Brentwood, Long Island, home by a friend of their father who promised to take them for a ride. The “friend” delivered them to Sideburn Eddie. The brothers are aged 11 and 14.
“What we are talking about” Captain Gussman emphasises “is not homosexuality between consenting adults. What we are making thfe arrests for is prostitution and imprisonment. Boys are being sold against their will. That’s the filth we want to clean up off the streets.”
It is a cold and very late night in Times Square, but the street still loudly lit with neon – is not empty. I walk down the street and eyes follow, wondering, hinting.
Am I a tourist or customer, these quick glances demand. In front of a theatre, I am finally approached. A black man with a large grey hat and shiny glass rings on his fingers does the talking. Behind him stands a young boy wearing purple pants, sneakers and a light corduroy jacket. His shirt collar is turned up to protect him against the cold.
The boy has blonde hair parted in the middle. His face, that nicely tanned, is that of a child – fresh and soft. He tries to disguise his age by puffing on a cigarette. The boy stands under the movie arcade, hands in his pockets, shivering. He is not wearing winter clothes.
His tan, his clothes, suggest Florida or California. How long has he been in New York? It is impossible to tell. He doesn’t talk. Behind the boy stands another black man.
He is not so fancily dressed. He also does not talk. He only stares. The four of us stand in the cold. The smoke from the boy’s cigarette drifts up into the neon lights.
“It’s cold out here. Why don’t we talk downstairs?” the man with the hat offers.
I follow the trio into the Subway at 42nd Street. Two transit patrolmen see the two black men and the blonde boy walking ahead of me. They look, but they don’t stop the boy. They don’t ask him where he’s from, what he’s doing out so late at night. The two transit cops continue walking, talking to each other.
They lead me to an underground penny arcade near the trains. The man running the place says hello to the man wearing the hat. There is a long line of target machines, 10 cents for 25 shots. No one is using the machines. We stand next to them.
The light down here is very bright. In this stronger light I see the black man’s coat is frayed at the cuff. His rings are a clear purple glass and catch the light as he moves his hand. The othef black man silently and quickly moves behind me. I move away. I don’t want him behind me. He realises this and moves away. The boy lights another cigarette. He does not talk. He puffs on the cigarette and starfcs down the sights of a rifle attached to a machine.
The man with the hat breaks the silence. “My rent is due tomorrow. Gotta pay my rent. Gotta make some money somehow. Got any suggestions?” he asks me. “What do you think?” I ask. The man with the hat laughs. “I got a little friend here, a nice little chicken, who’ll help me earn the money. Got any suggestions?” he repeats.
It’s a Tuesday night in Times Square.
Nevada is a chicken hawk. He spends 300 dollars a week buying boys. I met Nevada in his Upper West Side apartment. He is a tall, handsome man with thick red hair and dark eyes. He talks slowly and with a slight Boston accent, the city where he was born and attended college. He has lived in New York for the past fifteen years, working as an accountant by day, and living the life of a chicken hawk by night. I sip red wine and listen.
“You know, I’m not like most of the other chicken hawks. You don’t find many people like me around, I take care of the kids. I take them out to dinner. I give them 20, 25 dollars. I care about them. Look, you know what those kids on the street are looking for? Love and affection. If I find a kid on 42nd Street I treat him well. I tell a kid I’ll give him a place to stay but I’ll tell the kid right off, he’s gonna have to do something to earn his keep.”
“You know why 42nd street is full of kids’ Do you know why the runaways are coming off the buses? I’ll tell you why: it’s because something went wrong at home, and they‘re just looking for someone to take care of them. One summer I kept 17 kids at my apartment up here. Do you know what they cost me in food? I make sure all my chickens are well fed. I spent something like 750 dollars a month on food that summer. And then I had to give the doorman all kinds of tips to shut him up. Every time he’d threaten to call up the cops. I’d have to hand over another picture of the President.
“If I don’t get the kids off the buses, do you know who gets them? The rape artists will grab them. Let me tell you a story about one of them, about Steve, the rape artist. I get a call from this scum and he tells me to meet him at his house. He says he has a nice chicken for me. When I get there I find this kid tied to a bed. He’s been tied to this bed for four days already. Steve tells me he’s been raped 17 times. He says the kid resisted at first so he beat him, and just to teach him a lesson, burnt his initials on the kid’s back with a hot cigarette. I spoke to the kid. He was some poor 13 year old from Baltimore. You know why he ran away from home? Get this – he got a bad grade in Mathematics and was afraid his father would beat him. I mean a guy like Steve the rape artist is sick. I don’t see why people make such a fuss about me and my little chickens. I’m just looking for a nice boy. I’m willing to pay for a new face. What I’ll pay depends on what the boy will do. What kind do I like? I like sweet boys. My ideal boy has blonde hair and blue eyes. But I’ve been with all kinds. I would never go to bed with a coloured person though. I don’t consider myself a bigot…”
“You can buy any type of boy in this city, if you’re willing to pay. It’s no problem. On 42nd street the Pimps like Hollywood Al will take care of you. On 53rd and 3rd the scene is more expensive and older. The boys hang out down there in a restaurant when it’s colder. Usually there’s a row of expensive cars along the curb. The pimps make a deal and the boys disappear into the cars. If you want to buy a boy there, you see Mike “Nary” Muscles. He’s the big pimp. He handles johns from all over the city, shipping boys out to the Queens or Brooklyn. He’s a weightlifter or something. Upper East Side chicken hawks like this guy we call Rockefeller come by in their fancy cars. They get a high class crowd on 53rd Street.”
“Or if you want, you can get your chickens in the Village. Super Sam keeps his flock in a restaurant on Christopher Street, too. They’re just looking for a place to stay. Look, there’s even a number where you can call up and get a boy delivered to you. They say it’s a massage service. You can’t believe how big this thing is. Why there’s even a place in Connecticut where they take kids and make them pose for pictures.”
“The only problem is that there are just not enough new kids. New York makes kids too tough too soon. A lot of us chicken hawks, and the pimps too, drive up to Philadelphia to a place on 17th and Walnut on weekends to look for new faces. Or we go to the meat market in Baltimore. Or we hang out in Jersey City. The kids in other cities are much sweeter, much looser. They’re doing it all for the fun.
“Look, I’m not like the others. I never forced a kid to do anything. You’ll never find a kid who’ll say anything bad about me.”
Soon Nevada tells me I must leave. He is expecting a guest and he has to check on the roast in the oven.
Later that night I see the trio again. They are standing in a coffee shop underneath the Port Authority terminal. I watch them from the other side of the glass. The black man with the hat is talking to a tall man with glasses and lots of curly hair. The tall man is looking at the boy. The boy is kicking an empty paper cup across the coffee shop floor. The other black man is standing by the door, hands in his pockets.
The conversation continues. Hands are shook. Is money exchanged? Quickly the black man opens the door and the tall man and the boy with purple pants walk out together. The two black men remain inside the restaurant and order something. The boy follows the tall man, still kicking the paper cup as he walks towards the subway.
How easy is it to call up a pimp and buy a boy? Last weekend I tried a number in the Village and spoke with a well known pimp. This pimp has been twice indicted by the grand jury and is presently free on bail. The conversation went as follows:
H.B.: Hello, M, I’m Bob. I’m in from Baltimore for the weekend and I’m looking for chickens.
M.: Who gave you my name?
H.B.: A friend. Look do you have any chickens or not?
M.: Where are you?
M.: Can you meet me uptown?
M.: OK. Meet me at 5 o’clock tonight at 42nd Street. At Grant’s. It’s a big restaurant. I’ll find you. I’m certain I’ll be able to take care of you.
Reprinted with love and thanks from “The Village Voice”, Greenwich Village’s community newspaper.
ED: Whilst realising that the above feature could be interpreted as being a piece of sensationalism, we believe that it will be of interest to many readers. It is a factually written article about a social phenomenon that was first examined by GN in Roger Baker’s review of ‘The Dilly Boys’ in our last issue. As always, we hope to receive your opinions about the subject of prostitution in the gay scene.