Browsing through an interesting books, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (1994), which has quite a wealth of information about gay life in old New York City, although my attention was mostly on the chapters about the hustlers, the male prostitutes. What was it like to be a hustler in Depression-era New York City around the time Bucky and Steve were coming of age, in the late 1930s and early 1940s?
- Male prostitutes were called 'fairies', 'cocksuckers', or 'punks' (specifically teenage prostitutes, 14-17) and the johns were called 'wolves', 'jockers' and 'husbands'.
- There were brothels called 'slides' where johns could meet cross-dressing prostitutes
- This is a bit early, but police records from 1921 indicate that of the men arrested for prostitution, Italian and Irish immigrants made up the bulk of those arrested (with Italians outnumbering the Irish two-to-one), but there were also Jews, black men, etc. Some of the johns were African-American men picking up white men for sex.
- Times Square and also the benches at Battery Park were popular places to pick up male prostitutes. Some were also arrested for soliciting around subway stations.
- Going-rate for sex acts with a male prostitute in 1931: 50 cents for oral, 75 cents for anal, plus the cost of a room (about a dollar).