30 East 55th StreetManhattan > Midtown > East 55th Street
Polly Adler [1900-1962]
During the 1920s, Russian-born bordello-owner Polly Adler was arrested repeatedly and escaped conviction until the 1930s, thanks to the police precincts that cherished those bribes and kickbacks.
ADDRESS AGONY: Brothels she ran were located in the West 50s near Seventh Avenue, 59th and Madison Avenue, 69th and Columbus Avenue, 77th and Amsterdam Avenue, West 83rd Street, West 54th Street, and (for three years during the 1930s) at 30 East 55th Street. In March 1935, after three of her former call girls were remanded to the Women's House of Detention, Polly soon followed; she scrubbed floors there for 30 days in May and June in 1935.
BESTSELLERDOM: After her release, she settled in California, graduated from college, and penned a memoir with a ghostwriter. A House Is Not a Home became 1953's bestseller. Shelley Winters portrayed the pushy procurer onscreen and the famous title song A House Is Not a Home was composed by Burt Bacharach (with lyrics by Hal David) for the 1964 movie.