Could it be . . .

Can the prince of darkness thrive in Giulianified New York? That question is repeatedly posed by Jim Knipfel in his cover story in the current issue of the New York Press. The question sets up an interview with Peter Gilmore, a mover in the Church of Satan who was involved in relocating the organization's headquarters from San Francisco to New York in 2001.

My favorite bit is when Knipfel catches Gilmore out in a bit of Evil nostalgia:

"Times Square used to be the most potent vista for viewing this entire spectrum in one glance," he said. "If one stood on Broadway and 42nd, simply by looking around you could see human passions embodied: base sexuality in the venues for all facets of pornography, the restless mind hungry for information in the endless electronic crawl of headlines and in the publications cramming the newsstands. Our need for fantasy was served by the many theaters showing every level of film being produced and a similar range of live performance from the splendid to the sordid. There were shops which sold exotic weaponry and tacky souvenirs. The cuisine ranged from street vendors of dubious cleanliness and the quintessentially American Howard Johnson's to the second-floor exotica of the Chinese Republic." . . .

As we all know, that symbolic, iconic Times Square is long gone, replaced with "retail boxes" catering, as he puts it, "to the bland needs of tasteless drones." The supposed revitalization of the area, he further notes, "has slapped a sanitized mask on the true face of our Babylon."

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