Tag Archives: massage parlors

Erotic phantoms of NYC’s Eighth Avenue…

One thing that fascinates me is what existed in certain spaces before what is there now. I always remember the previous tenants, especially if they have some erotic or sleazy context… 😉

For example, the northeast stretch of Eighth Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets:

This used to have three notorious porn theaters: the Capri (where the parking lot is now on the left); and the gay-themed Eros and the hetero-themed Venus. I can’t help but see in my mind the facades of those vanished edifices superimposed over the hordes of tourists who now stroll by and patronize the restaurants and bar and open-air market that now inhabit those urban footprints.

A block up to 47th and Eighth, across the street on the northwest side, is a marquee for what is now a sightseeing business:

Previously in the 1980s this space housed the Hollywood Twin Cinemas, but even before that in the 1970s the mezzanine was utilized for part of a massage parlor. Back in the 70s (not now!!) the entrance way on the left (painted red now) led to an elevator that took you up to the mezzanine and the girls who were sitting there. But BEFORE that mezzanine was used, and even before the theater showed porn films, not the mainstream Hollywood fare that came in the 80s, the massage parlor was just a street-level storefront on the left where the glass windows of the Duane Reade drugstore now are in 2017.

The very space where those donuts now lay placidly in their display case was, around 1975, the entrance alcove of the massage parlor, where I met one blonde girl named Lydia with whom I first acted out femdom roleplay fantasies (foot and butt worship) and visited several times; and another blonde named Goldie who, on one particularly cold winter night, gave my lonely bones a friendly hug and rubdown, and warm interesting conversation in which she told me she was a descendant of an early American president! I re-created some of that dialogue in the first porn film I wrote, 1987’s Adultery.

This stretch of street was immortalized in the poster for the 1976 film Taxi Driver. Recognize that marquee?

Finally, across the street, where there now stands a Starbucks, a Staples, a medical clinic, a preschool, and apartments, there used to be low-rise buildings that had a fantastically sleazy porn shop, a used comic book shop, an infamous gay bar called the Haymarket, and perhaps most important for the history of pornography, in the center of the block at 776 Eighth Avenue there were located offices of fetish digest publishers back in the 1950s, which showcased the work of such legendary artists such as Gene Bilbrew. I don’t remember the titles offhand right now, but I remember seeing the address on the copyright pages of some vintage issues. If and when I stumble on them again, I’ll amend this post and add the titles. This is the block now…

Look closely, though, and perhaps you’ll be able to imagine, as I do, infamous 50s femdom fetish models like Tana Louise walking down the street in sexy 50s couture and maybe going up the long-vanished steps to editorial offices at 776 Eighth Avenue!

By the way, Tana Louise (as opposed to the actress Tina Louise, an entirely different performer) was one of the very first fetish models I personally ever saw in a magazine. In today’s over-saturated kink environment, it may seem incredible that she really blew me away with her witchy dominant aura, but back in the early 70s I don’t think I’d ever come across anybody quite like her, and I think I noticed her before I even saw Bettie Page, who never looked quite as ferocious to me in any case. I got this image from the cool site Java’s Bachelor Pad, so go here to see and read more about Mistress Tana too.




Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The lost Times Square culture of solitary sleazitude…

The other night on Twitter I got into a fun little back-and-forth of reminiscences with WR from the femdom site Domme Dose (http://dommedose dot com) about the old days in Times Square, recalling the Triple Treat Theater where they had porn stars and dominatrixes, and Show World Center with its fantasy booth girls. For the aficionado of commercial erotic adventure, the current 42nd Street and Times Square are a total bore compared to the old days of sleaze. I mean, to be fair, there are still a few strip clubs and adult bookstores here and there, but mostly on the fringes; and the area overall is “family-friendly,” in that phrase beloved of tourist guidebooks.

Upstairs, "one-on-one" booths where girls would entertain you behind glass for $1 per minute.

I got the above image from an article at the Gothamist website, where you can see several more great glimpses of the bygone glories of NY sleazitude. And go to a site called Bald Punk’s Paranormal NYC to see a funky video that gives you a nice feeling of Times Square in the 70s.

I knew most of the theaters, peep shows, bookstores, and strip clubs in the area. That’s what the area is missing today–places where men who enjoy the solitary culture of sleazitude can get their thrills cheaply, unpretentiously. I love the Internet, but sometimes you like to be alone amongst liked-minded strangers.

I remember the walk-in $10 massage parlors–the door was a curtain of beads, or sometimes there was no door at all–down on 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, which is now “Theater Row.” Girls would be sitting on folding chairs in loose summer frocks. “Hi, honey, wanna massage?” “Yes, ma’am!”

Left: the Carter Hotel, where famous poet Delmore Schwartz died. Right, Roxy Theaters, where hot strippers writhed.

I got the above shot from a site called NYC Architecture. Go there for more amazing pix of the area, and edgy photos of ladies on the streets.

Now, do you remember the shoes that were so popular in the late 70s, Candies slides? Whenever I see pictures of them, I think of a girl I knew back in 1977 in an incall brothel apartment on the East Side in the 50s.

I can still see her butt, plumped up when she was standing in this brand of heels.

Not too long after I got back to New York following my father’s death that summer in Chicago (my hometown), I found this cute girl through an ad in Screw newspaper and visited her for six months for $25 a session. Although she was comparatively short, she had really nice legs and a round butt, and she often wore pantyhose which sexily accentuated her curvy shape. And she also always wore Candies’ slides, the same style as these vintage ones from 1978 that I found in this photo from the Esty site here.

She was one  of the first girls I ever got into femdom scenarios with, even though all I basically did was kiss her legs, feet, and butt. She was a friendly little blonde Jewish gal in her early 20s from Queens. She never worked on Friday nights, because that’s when she had Sabbath dinner with her relatives. At least that’s what she told me, and I liked the idea of it so I believed her. Maybe it was true, or maybe she was playing me because I was then, still, a “nice” Jewish boy. Even if she was playing me, it doesn’t matter, because it was the right myth to please me at that time.

She got me through a lot of lonely months with nice conversation and roleplay when I was still thinking a lot about how awfully my father suffered (a quick, catastrophic neurological disease), and how young he died (forty-nine). Eventually I started thinking it would be nice to see her on the outside, but although she didn’t mind me calling her at the brothel just to say hello, dating wasn’t possible. Ruefully I said, “I wish I’d met you in a different place, like in a museum, coming up to you and giving you some corny line.” I usually tried to pick girls up at the Metropolitan Museum in front of the Dutch paintings, which in their homey humanism lent themselves readily to quips. “Yeah, that would’ve been different,” she said. But that wasn’t how we’d met, so we just continued as “trick and tart” until eventually I couldn’t seem get through to her anymore at the whorehouse just to say hello.

For a long time I liked to think it was like something out of the poem by Andrew Marvell, The Definition of Love:

Therefore the love which us doth bind,
    But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
    And opposition of the stars.

I was a romantic fool then. Still have a touch of it today.

She called herself Kitty, and when I first saw her, she was sitting scrunched up in the corner of a couch, just like a kitten. “Who would you like?” the madam said. So I nodded to the kitten in Candies.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Erotica


Tags: , , , , , , , ,