Times Square was once filled with peep show palaces and porno cellars. Some remain, mostly the booth-style video peep, but the majority have vanished.
Here and there, however, if you look closely enough, you can catch a glimpse of their ghosts. Like a paleontologist searching for fossil remains, you might find an errant decoration, a geometric pattern of tiny cut mirrors, shining on the side of an otherwise innocent T-shirt shop.
If you are feeling adventurous, you might pass through one of those T-shirt shops, braving the crush of tourists and forsaking the 9/11 commemorative snow-globes, the giant Lady Liberty pencils. When the shop worker isn't looking, you might duck into a back room or dash down a set of stairs, past strange signs that say "DO NOT TOUCH THE GIRLS."
If you are lucky, you will emerge into a subterranean archeological site and discover one of Times Square's last big-screen porno theaters.
The screen is torn. The ceiling is falling. In chairs that once held untold sticky fantasies and acts performed in flickering cinema light, now sit stacks of "I Heart NY" T-shirts.
It seems shelves would be more useful here. Why leave everything as it was? What are these chairs and that screen waiting for? Somewhere, deep in the wall, a film projector hibernates, its spools loaded with some forgotten skin flick, just waiting for some future day when its switch might once again be flipped.