Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pleasure Chest 1972

Before the Pleasure Chest was a sex-toy stop on the Sex & the City tour of Greenwich Village, right between Magnolia Bakery and the Perry Street stoop, it was a hardcore sex shop. At least it appears to be in the 1972 documentary "Pornography in New York."


1972, Pornography in New York

Opened in 1972, the Pleasure Chest was located at 183 West 10th Street, its incredibly slender space wedged between two buildings, where a boutique called Laura Lobdell jewelry is today. The little corner has cleaned up since the 70s and so has the Pleasure Chest.


today, Google maps

In the documentary, we're greeted by a sign warning customers that the novelties in this shop have not been approved by Good Housekeeping, the Department of Agriculture, nor the Board of Health.


Pornography in New York

Next we view a wooden shingle-covered wall hung with black leather wrist and ankle restraints, nipple clamps, and weights dangling from heavy chains. The Pleasure Chest still sells restraints, but these days they're more likely to be "Rhinestone Glamour Cuffs."


Pornography in New York

On the next wall, we see some dildos that are decidedly not cute or cuddly, along with a box full of cock rings, some made of leather lined with internal spikes. No pink feather boas here. No pink bunny-rabbit vibrators, either.

Maybe there were pink-bunny vibrators at the original Pleasure Chest. I don't know. They're not shown in the documentary. Still, somehow, I doubt it.

Looking at these images compared to today, we see that sex toys in 1972 New York were gritty, rugged objects to be slipped into the slippery basements of the old Meat Market, not flaunted atop glittery glass towers in the new MePa.

One last detail: The Pleasure Chest also sold water beds.

Read More:
Sex Toys & The City
Adult Bookstores
With thanks again to Mick Dementiuk

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember going in there in the early 70's as a fairly innocent 20 year old and being fascinated and disturbed...and of course curious about what was displayed.

Thanks for the memories!

Sarah Banks said...

Maybe the Magnolia Bakery could honour the past with a Double D Cup-cake....

dirtygirl said...

Here's a little history on that location. By 1974 that Pleasure Chest location had became home to some NYC gypsies. Just next to it was a fabulous gay bar called "The Chalice" in the spot where Smalls now lives.

When you left the Chalice late at night you'd run into the gypsy kids going around the neighborhood banging and denting the parked cars with sledge hammers. Not destroying them, just enough to upset the owners.

In the morning, when the car owners came out and saw the damage, the older gypsy boys, just older teens or early 20s, would come out and sympathize, shaking their heads and muttering. Then say "I can fix that for you for ...." and name a price.

They were brilliant, if not ethical. They created a market, then filled the need.

Anonymous said...

What a great place!!!

Anonymous said...

Also until only a couple of years ago it was the last surviving junk shop in the West Village. I remember it was run by one of those old Russian guys who sold old clothing, Soviet memorabilia, Russian dolls and general junk.

Goggla said...

Wow, I bet some of those old toys could blow a fuse...

Mark said...

among the things that have gotten lost in the ensuing 38 years is the fact that the Pleasure Chest was geared to the gay men who populated this neighborhood in droves back then. There was still a rather vibrant
S & M/Leather scene in the Village in those days and store like this and the old Leatherman and even the Marquis de Suede serviced that clientele. Thinking back to 1972, I'm not sure we much frequented the Meatpacking District. There were many, many bars and clubs in the West Village and along the piers in Chelsea.

Mark said...

And I remember the Chalice quite well...it's where we went to dance after the Ninth Circle burned down in 1973.

Ken Mac said...

wheres that place that still sells dildo cakes

Jeremiah Moss said...

those gypsies sound like something special