The Incredible Journey of the Daughter of “New York’s Porn King”

As the oldest daughter of Times Square’s “King of Porn,” Romola Hodas’ childhood was over-the-top chaotic. After all, how many children of the 1960s grew up in an atmosphere where it was normal to hang out in their father’s 42nd Street porn shops interacting with both the women performing live sex acts on stage and their clients? But that’s only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Romola’s father was Martin Hodas, a name that is no doubt familiar to anyone watching the HBO series The Deuce about the birth of the Times Square porn industry. In the show, her father is played by actor Saul Stein.

In a new book published by Riverdale Avenue Books, Romola offers a no-holds-barred look at her family, its mob connections and the struggles she overcame to create a stable existence. Co-written with Elizabeth Ridley, The Princess of 42nd Street: Surviving My Childhood as the Daughter of Times Square’s King of Porn is ultimately a tale of survival. “My story has its darker moments,” Romola says, “but it is also infused with humor and hope. Hope always burned brightly inside me, even during the darkest times.” And those times included Romola having to step in for her bipolar mother when she could not care for her three younger siblings.

In this important book, Romola discusses:

  • Her little brother’s kidnapping and an attempt by the mob to kidnap her at “fat camp”
  • Spying on her parents’ sex orgies and all-night swinger parties
  • Enduring verbal, physical and emotional abuse
  • Spending a year in reform school.
  • How she managed to turn the negatives of her life into positives

Praise for The Princess of 42nd Street

“Anyone who remembers the raging sex-for-sale Times Square of the 1960s and ’70s may have wondered, at least in passing, who was getting all that money. Well, we now know a big part of that answer. His name was Marty Hodas and the story of how he turned quarters into millions is as gripping as it is horrifying. The man behind the live sex acts and slimy peep show booths was a child abuser of epic proportion, and yet still engendered the love and devotion of his most heavily tortured victim — his daughter Romola. Her tale of surviving her childhood is woven through growth of New York’s porn industry with her father on the throne. It will leave you disgusted, stunned and inspired.” Adam Somers, New York Daily News

“A testament to the awakening and reclamation of self. Romola Hodas gives companionship to all those caretakers, people pleasers, Mr. and Mrs. Fix-Its suffering under the pathology of identities forced upon them other than their own. We are fortunate to hear such a courageous voice and blessed to be given the opportunity to listen and learn.” – Actor Saul Stein, who plays Martin Hodas on The Deuce.

For more than 20 years, Romola owned and operated Harmony Marketing, selling products to, and helping to grow, the natural food industry. She was one of the industry’s first women to build her own business as a broker. Today, she divides her time between Long Island, N.Y., and Boynton Beach, Fla., where she works as a consultant, healer and public speaker.

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