Thursday, March 28, 2013

XXX on 14th and 3rd

Back in 2011, I wrote up an extensive post about the Sahara Hotel that once stood on the northeast corner of 14th Street and 3rd Avenue, along with the prostitutes that used to roam the neighborhood.

In the post, I refer to the XXX peep joint on the first floor of the Sahara (now a Duane Reade in an NYU dorm). Photos of that peep joint are rare finds, but I just came upon two of them in the magnificent online archive of photographer Gregoire Alessandrini who maintains the blog New York City 1990s, a must-see.


photo: Gregoire Alessandrini

Sometimes, when I find images of a lost place that is hard to find in photos, I like to post them, to sort of reconstruct the place as much as possible. The one photo I found prior to these was black and white, but here we see the lavender hue of the ALL MALE ADULT VIDEO shop.

In the next shot, we see the western side of the peep joint, along 3rd Avenue.

For more about this corner in the 1990s, read my post on the Sahara Hotel. For more amazing images of New York at that time, see Gregoire's New York City 1990s.


photo: Gregoire Alessandrini

And one more, sent in after this post was posted, from Gregoire. A wider view, it shows the whole corner with its--not one, but two XXX video joints:


photo: Gregoire Alessandrini

26 comments:

thegaycurmudgeon said...

I lived on 14th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue twice in the early ’80s. When I first lived there, 14th Street was so dangerous, I used to get out of the subway at Astor Place and walk to 14th Street.
Ah, those were the good old days!

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

Back in the early 60s, 1964 or 65, me and my girlfriend needed a place to screw, we were just 15-16, and where else to go but the Sahara. Without asking our age the man gave us a room on the 3rd floor looking out on 14th Street. It's all in my book "100 Whores," was available at St Marks Bookstore but who knows where it is now
http://www.100Whores.com

Anonymous said...

Funny, I don't remember the "all-male" video shop. Went to college downtown in the 80s. My classmates and I hung out at the Dugout on 3rd between 13th and 14th-two doors down from the Variety Photoplay adult (gay) cinema. The Dugout was in the basement level of an SRO; the patrons were the indigent men who lived upstairs and NYU and New School students.

Marcia said...

I remember being a trainee counsellor at Stuyvesant Park Y in the mid -70s and walking the children around that area was always a challenge! There was also, paradoxically, a uniform store where cops, firemen and nurses got their stuff. I'd say it was less peaceful coexistence than detente...
Later, my friend Bette Gordon made a film about the Variety theatre about the subculture of female musicians who made money working as stripper, bar girls and/or dominatrixes in the late 70s/early 80s.
I reread your post about The Sahara, for which I have no nostalgia. It was a dangerous, terrifyingly threatening place, which could have been repurposed instead of demolished; but I fear the building was probably structurally decrepit from the sheer neglect and countless fires. Does anyone remember a similar SRO in the twenties off third?

Jocelyn said...

When I was a kid I'm pretty sure that corner was an Optimo cigar shop and my dad told me I was never allowed to go inside.

JAZ said...

gaycurmudgeon - it still is dangerous; if you don't watch your step, you can easily get run over by the spawn of Carrie Bradshaw with her face buried in her iphone as she frantically searches for directions to the nearest artisanal cupcake shop.

Anonymous said...

I'll never understand why anybody would reminisce over a time when NYC was a shithole.

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

oh yeah that reminds me, thinking about the XXX place on 14th Streets, years before it was a magazine/cigar store much like the magazine place on 11th & 6th Ave, before they modernized it which was very similar to it. Perhaps they were owned by the same family.

Gregoire Alessandrini said...

Dear Jeremiah,

Many thanks for your post on 14th street and the link to my blog !!! Here's an other shot of the XXX store you are describing. Feel free to add it to your post if you wish...
Kindest regards and many many thanks for your attention !
Greg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XnE_dMMAJ1M/UKali1GEarI/AAAAAAAACTc/R7Za2uQ-VSw/s400/Cops+14th+st.+1997blog.tif

rchrd said...

Peep shows: I caught this one in 1970 while in a car headed uptown. Not sure exactly where but probably mid-town off 6th.
http://www.rchrd.com/photo/archives/2007/12/manhattan_octob_3.html

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why anyone would celebrate today's EV, which is a shithole full if yunnies, NYU students, fratdouches, and sorority Carrie Bradshaws.

Utherben said...

Does anyone else recall Reborn 14, the used book/magazine/comic shop on 14th just west of 3rd? It was a delightfully disheveled place with some fantastic finds. I spent a good deal of time (& pocket change) there back in the '80s...I think by the early '90s it was gone.

BabyDave said...

Anon 10:44 -- In part, because the "shithole" quality actually contributed to the vibrancy of the city. An example, a block away from the Sahara: We wouldn't have "Taxi Driver" if the 110 Third Avenue and 123 Third Avenue blandness of oblivious wealth had dominated the locale.

Marcia 9:16 -- I remember a hotel on 25th or 26th Street, I think, just east of Lexington Avenue, that was a regular place of business for the prostitutes who worked the streets near the 69th Regiment Armory.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Gregoire and rchrd for those links to pics. 25 cents!

James C. Taylor said...

@Anonymous 12:23 — Not everyone in the East Village is a yunnie, NYU student, fratdouche or sorority Carrie Bradshaw.

It only seems that way because they have a tendency to speak at a higher volume than the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah. I don't think that sign was up through the late 90's, but I definitely got a few excellent blow jobs at that place during that period. Thanks for the memories...

Anonymous said...

I lived on 15th (2nd & 3rd) from 1980 'til around 2000. When the local politicians were talking about demolishing the Sahara there was an article in the local neighborhood paper. I don't remember the name of the paper but I think I wrote a letter to the editor about how important the history of the neighborhood was.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember that the corner served as an Optimo cigar store with a hetero peep show in the back. I say that because I used to go in there to buy Nat Sherman's that they sold at a discount price. The peeps were too scuzzy to patronize tho... In its last incarnation, it became an all male peep. I remember when that block was pretty clean. It was home to Hammer's Dairy Restaurant, The Labor Temple, The Jefferson Theater, all neighborhood mainstays. What's so interesting is that after the block's decline The Sahara was the biggest blight on the block and kept that corridor between 2nd and 3rd from being significantly developed. It has only been in the past few years that the block has approached legitimacy. Been a long time.

Anonymous said...

the SRO on 25th bet. Lex and 3rd by Baruch existed until about '04 or so. It's a somewhat shabby, eccentric budget hotel for tourists now.

Carol Gardens said...

The hooker hotel was not on the corner of 3rd. That is now the Carlton Arms, which is very eccentric since artists decorated the rooms. I think the hotel that is being reference was larger and on the SE corner of 25th and Lex. My friend lived in the bland rental building on the NE corner (which was new and more upscale than most of the housing on Lex in the early 80s). We used to hang out the window and watch the hookers scream at each other and hit each other with stilettos. Lex was very seedy at the time.

Carol Gardens said...

And although the stories can seem funny/frightening, I don't think people particularly loved the scary shithole qualities of 14th or Lex. Well, some did, I guess. I know I just miss the possibilities that were afforded by a less luxe city. Had to watch your back more but with that came vibrant cheap nightlife, art, music, performance, and weirdness.

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laura said...

anon 10:44am, you are correct. that part of NY was a "shit hole". when i returned from LA, i didnt have an apt & school was beginning, in 1970. i spent 2 weeks w/a friend on e.13th st between 2nd & 3rd, nearer to 3rd. yes it was what it was, depressing. (i am from NY, it is usually the transplants who like that kind of thing). i moved to a sublet on e. 61st bet 2nd & 3rd, what a difference. e.14st always had bad vibes. my father was born @232 e.14th, in 1918 lived there maybe 10yrs. maybe thats how he learned to curse w/a filthy mouth. moving on, i kind of liked the corner of 14th & 2nd from 2003 till '08. i stayed there over there those few yrs while visiting NY. theres somehing about 3rd ave, that doesnt cut it.

laura said...

to add to my 11:52post: my grandmother (the other side of the family) worked as a "shop girl" on e/14th st. in 1898/9. she was about 10 yrs old. they lived near by on ave B & 9th st. they were waiting for the rest of her brothers, uncles to arrive. when they did, they got the hell of out of there. (they bought property in beautiful upstate). it was a source of shame living there, as this part of my family did not pass thru ellis island like the russians did.

Anonymous said...

Dan Lynch Bar on 14th and 2nd a great blues bar hangout. Lots of good music, drug addicts, hookers, Japanese tourists, truckers.......
Disappeared sometime in the 90's?

Reinaldo Cruz said...

In response to rchrd, who said...
Peep shows: I caught this one in 1970 while in a car headed uptown. Not sure exactly where but probably mid-town off 6th.
http://www.rchrd.com/photo/archives/2007/12/manhattan_octob_3.html on March 28, 2013 at 12:12 PM

That's the Hearst building in the background, which would place this peep show on 56th street & 8th, just around the corner from the Soup Nazi shop