Nostalgic for the Sleazy Times Square
Malachy McCourt was born in Brooklyn, USA and from the age of three was raised in Limerick, Ireland. He returned to the land of his birth at the age of twenty and again worked at the manual tasks such as longshoreman, truck loader, dishwasher, until he became an actor. That career took him to Broadway and Off-Broadway and regional theatres in plays such as Mass Appeal, Da, The Hostage, Inherit the Wind, Carousel and Translations. The soap operas such as Ryan's Hope, Search for Tomorrow, One Life to Live, and All My Children were also a good source of work and sustenance as were the movies Molly Maguires, She's the One, The Devil's Own, Green Card, and TV movies such as You Can't Go Home Again and The Dain Curse. Due to a heavy schedule of writing, book signings and public appearances McCourt had to take a sabbatical from the acting trade but is now back after completing five movies Happy Hour, Guru of Sex, Gods and Generals, and Ash Wednesday plus a running part in the HBO prison series Oz. As well as being the co-author of the play A Couple of Blaguards with his brother Frank, Malachy has written his own New York Times bestseller memoir, A Monk Swimming, published by Hyperion Press. His memoir, Singing My Him Song, now out in paperback is published by Harper Collins. Running Press recently published four of Malachy’s books: the history of the song Danny Boy, a history of The Claddagh Ring, Voices of Ireland, an anthology, and Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland. Recent books, Harold Be Thy Name and Bush Lies in State, are published by Welcome Rain. In the works is I Never Drink When I’m Sober for Harper Collins. Malachy writes a column, Sez I to Myself, that appears in the Manhattan Spirit, The Westsider and Our Town in NYC.
Question: In the 55 years that you’ve lived in New York, how has it evolved?
Malachy McCourt: Well, it’s much faster now – life is much faster, people get past me quicker than when I first came. Economically, it’s been up and down in the 55 years that I have been here. I absolutely love the public transportation system in New York. No matter what, no matter how people complain, it is the best in the world. I like the police force, they are very – they’ve seen everything you know. Well, there’s 47 people up there on the roof and they are throwing tomatoes. “Yes sir. Well thank you.” They don’t get excited. “Oh, I have to get out machine guns.” Like at other places.
There seems to be less obvious corruption in city government and New York politicians, they aren’t Republican or Democrat, they’re New Yorkers. I like that. And New York people are generally speaking, pretty helpful and courteous despite the fact that it says they are supposed to be rude and all that kind of business.
Times Square has eh – I kind of miss the old sleazy Times Square, in a way. And yet I don’t mind not being accosted by you know, all sorts of strange people.
Recorded on March 10, 2010
After 55 years in New York City, Malachy McCourt reflects upon its evolution.
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