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The Princess

of 42nd Street

By ROMOLA HODAS

Surviving My Childhood as the Daughter of Time Square’s King of Porn, Marty Hodas
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Can you imagine seeing porn stars having sex in your backyard, or watching a topless waitress breastfeeding a kitten at one of your parent’s parties? Well, I don’t have to imagine it because I lived it. My name is Romola Hodas and I’m the eldest daughter of Marty (Martin) Hodas, aka “Times Square’s King of Porn,” the man who almost single-handedly built New York City’s pornography and adult entertainment industry from the 1960s to the 1980s.

By the time I was eighteen, I had survived two kidnapping attempts, summering in the Catskills with members of the Colombo crime family, surviving verbal and physical abuse, and a year in reform school. My childhood was a nightmare of violence, chaos, and severe body shaming.

I did my best to protect my three younger siblings when our dad grew increasingly abusive and our brilliant, bipolar artist mother broke with reality and took to her bed for months at a time. Against all odds, I not only survived a childhood few people could fathom, but I also thrived, becoming a successful businesswoman who now devotes her life to helping others.

The Princess of 42nd Street

Marty (Martin) Hodas, my father and the Porno King of New York City

Hello, my name is Romola Hodas and I am the oldest child of Marty Hodas, who was the Porno King of New York City from the late ’60s until the ’80s.

He started the porn business when I was around 10 and I found out at 13. Soon after he was on the front page of the Daily News for a week. Bad week. I have been writing my memoir, “The Princess of 42nd Street”, for over 5 years and then “The Deuce” came out on HBO.

Watching the first episode of The Deuce reminded me of the time I was on 42nd street and in one of my fathers’ stores.
I walked up the stairs and into the back room where the girls were getting ready to dance. I sat in a corner, watched them, and started asking questions.

I don’t remember if they knew who I was, but evidently, they must have.

I was so curious, what type of woman or girl does that?

I was surprised. Yes, some girls were on heroin. Some were putting themselves through college. One woman had gotten divorced…well, she wasn’t really a woman…she was around 20 and had 2 kids. Boy, did they make good money…$500 to $700 a day or more.

That was in the early ’70s. They made more money if they let men touch them through the slot in the panel where they watched the girls dance on the revolving dance floor.

I watched one of the last episodes of the first season of The Deuce, there was a character, playing my dad.
I clearly remember those white bags with all those quarters. Dad would bring those bags home, empty them on the kitchen table, and my mom and I would put them in the sleeves. So many quarters!

Three days before my dad died, he sat with my sister and I and told us stories that we never knew. I now know much more about the man that created 42nd street, my father…the Deuce.

I want to share these stories and more with you. Stories you will never hear from watching The Deuce.

I lived through much horror, abuse, and even two kidnapping attempts. I saw many things that children should not see. I have always wanted to write about how I overcame these obstacles in the hope I could inspire others who have gone through trauma and abuse in their childhood. I have known since I was a child, my attitude would make my life good or bad. I set out on a journey to discover how to make my life the best I could. That meant figuring out what made me happy. It is so easy to be unhappy, you don’t have to do anything. Back then, I had books. Now, there is the Internet. It is so much easier to get the tools and information you need to be able to take care of yourself.

So I am asking you to come along on my journey, and if you have any questions, ask.

Thank you,
Romola Hodas

Follow along with my journey: Instagram, Facebook, Podcasts, Creating Harmony MM

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I describe my incredible, and ultimately inspiring, journey in my new memoir co-written with Elizabeth Ridley, The Princess of 42nd Street: Surviving My Childhood as the Daughter of Times Square’s King of Porn, which will be published in print and ebook by Riverdale Avenue Books in New York in September 2018.

– ROMOLA HODAS

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