Even though I'm not sure if many people send "wish you were here" postcards anymore, I've never been able to go by a postcard rack or souvenir stand without looking. Not ever. I thought I'd share some with you, and here's the first installment.
For about a decade and a half, we lived in Hell's Kitchen behind Times Square when there was still enough cheap thrills left there to satisfy a restless boy. There was a big arcade on Broadway at 52nd Street. It had this great smell of cheap electronics, and there must have been a hundred machines in there all going at once. No bells or beeps, just a roar. I can't remember exactly how many umbrellas were stolen from me while I was busy in there with Donkey Kong on late rainy nights. You can't play pinball and hold your umbrella.
The windows were piled with jokes, magic tricks, ventriloquist dummies, phony i.d. cards, and a ton of "I heart NY" stuff -- all faded till you could hardly make out any colored ink at all. One time when Kenny Kneitel and I were having a few drinks nearby at the Mardi Gras Topless, he remembered that when he was a kid, there was an artist sitting in one of the arcade windows, hand-painting hula dancer neckties for the tourists.
Down in the basement, there was a pool hall for the serious sharks, but up front on the way out was this novelty counter. Sometimes the guy would have a magic trick to show me and once in a while I'd buy it, but there was this postcard floor rack that hadn't been touched much for at least thirty years. That's where these two are from. Copyright 1941. None of them were more than a dime, a bargain even in the late '70s. I bought the whole lot, so don't go looking for more of them. Don't look for the arcade either. It died along with everything else.