Bada Bing Nightspot, Kings Cross, Sydney

Ghosts Of My Town: Kings Cross, Sydney

Most of the strip joints are closed and the left-over neon splutters.  The Empire, once the world-famous Les Girls and then the Carousel Club where Juanita Neilsen was last seen alive, has been demolished for luxury apartments...

The New York Restaurant, which had been in Kings Cross since the late 50s, shut up shop when the Eastern Suburbs landlord hiked up the rent.  The only way they could make the rent was to increase the price of the food, which would then be unaffordable to their clientele so they chose to close—much to the distress of the hood.

My favourite sign—"Models" (a relic from the back lanes of 1960s Darlinghurst Road when it was called "the glittering mile")—fell apart letter by letter and one day, the last of it was thrown in the back of the garbage truck cruising down Earl Street.

Other signs of abandonment: discarded wigs on the pavement, false eyelashes gummed to a window sill, suitcases bursting and adrift, a nightdress hung on a fence. The Astoria Hotel—a dangerous place where drug overdoses were common, desperation and incoherence were scrawled on walls and men, straight out of prison were put up (not a helpful place for them to be with the lure of the shadowlands) courtesy of the state government—was renovated and lost its painted wall advertising pawn brokers and jewellery.  

Animal, the biker with a social conscience, died and the streets of Kings Cross filled with those whose lives he’d touched (and saved). The Governor of NSW at the time Marie Bashir also attended the service at The Wayside, where people who are struggling can have a meal, clean clothes, and not have to deal with judgment.

Here's a small selection.