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Bustin' Out All Over

Something's goin on

Going into Cowgirl Hall of Fame, I could see that there was a lot of rubbernecking happening a block down, at the corner of Christopher and Hudson. It was hard to tell, though, whether there was a fire, an accident, or what. I was curious, but I was hungrier. By the time dinner was over, though, the sun had set and the floodlights and an even larger crowd had arrived at the scene, making it very clear that something was still going on, and it was kinda major.

Workmen get ready to shore up the facade

It didn't take long to discover that the hubbub was over the building across Christopher from the pizzeria. There was a huge crack running through the wall around the level of the first-floor ceiling, and a visible bulge to the entire wall. The whole thing was about to collapse, and emergency crews had been brought in to shore up the structure before it all came crashing down into the intersection. Workmen were knocking holes into the sidewalk around the building, and a truckload of lumber for the exoskeleton was at the ready.

Now, if you didn't know (it was news to me), this building used to be one of the older booth stores (you know, gay porn shops with video booths and lots of cruising) in the area, and one which stubbornly resisted all efforts to shut it down during the Giuliani administration's purge of all the porn shops and sex clubs in residential neighborhoods. Guys in the crowd were reminiscing about their adventures in that building, including one couple who had an out-of-town friend who would visit them and spent most of each weekend at "the library," as they had come to call it.

The store is long gone now, but it looked like there were still some apartments upstairs. I wonder how long it will take before the luxury apartments are built in its place. Will the new tenants be haunted by lewd, horny ghosts?

The scene of the action

Tangent: The Ultrasparky Field Correspondent who finally tracked down that link about the West Village's adult offerings points out that it's next to impossible to find any information about all these places with long, colorful, decadent histories that have finally been shut down in the last few years. It's not the kind of news item usually picked up by the gay press, any more than the subjects were ever raised in polite society, so there's not much to go on except rumor and reminiscences when you can find them. Maybe these places weren't the proudest aspect of gay culture, but they're part of the history, even if they weren't part of yours. So does anyone have any information about any of the places that have passed form New York's seedy underbelly to its murky past? My Google ranking could probably really use the linkage.

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