Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rawhide Goes Blue

When the famous Rawhide bar was pushed out of its Chelsea location, after 34 years of serving the queer and leather communities, we figured another chain was coming. It almost happened. A West Coast "fast casual" pizza chain nearly moved in, but the deal fell through and the Rawhide sat empty for another year.


2013

Now the place has been wrapped in green plywood and renovations are under way. So what's moving in?


today

I got an anonymous tip and confirmed the intel: The Blue Store is moving in. You know the Blue Store? The gay sex shop a couple doors down? The one that cops and mommies have tried to run out of business? Dildos, butt plugs, porn--and all the crazy Styrofoam heads in the window. That Blue Store.



And it's not just moving. It's expanding.

So, not only are we not getting yet another bank or Starbucks or happy California pizza chain in the old Rawhide space, we're getting a smut shop. Miracles do happen. Though the guy I talked to did say it will be an "upscale" version of the Blue Store. Imagine that.

*UPDATE: This development doesn't sound so great, after all.

Previously:
Rawhide
Inside the Rawhide
Rawhide Goodbye


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is such great news. The Blue Store is a fairly clean, well run porn shop. I go there on occasions just to browse and maybe support the store. The men running the store are very respectful and very helpful. I love that the mommies will FREAK out! They can suck it. While Chelsea will never be back it is nice to see chains aren't completely the king of the land.

Anonymous said...

NICE. Miracles indeed.

Anonymous said...

I'm a mommy and I'd much rather this than a another Walgreens.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremiah Moss said...

I think she's saying she likes a sex shop better than a Walgreens

Anonymous said...

Great news! When they say 'upscale' they mean a cleaner nicer store selling expensive sex toys. As long as they stay open 24/7 and keep the booths I'll be happy. And all the married commuters will be happy too! LOL

Anonymous said...

Great unexpected news BUT I'm afraid that the Blue Store's new corner location will be more prominent than before -- igniting more protests from mommies and other horrified newcomers. It just doesn't fit their upscale Disneyfied image of the New Chelsea (or the New New York, for that matter.) I hope they don't launch a campaign against it. But they might.

I just saw a TV news feature about a neighborhood in Brooklyn FREAKING OUT over a porn shop within a hundred yards of the public library. "Children go to that library on weekends!" wailed one parent, pointing at a display of lingerie and lube. "What if they see THAT???" Man, they should have seen the XXX magazines on full display in every newsstand in the city back in the 80s.

Anonymous said...

I live near that library. And while I could care less one way or another whether there's a porn shop it is right next door to the library, not "within a hundred yards away." But as long as the owners don't let the kids in, I don't see the problem. When I was a child, my parents once drove me through the old Times Square with all the gay GRAPHIC porno marquees and that didn't harm me in any way and that didn't harm me. Well, I did become gay, but that's another story.

Anonymous said...

What's with people having so much anger against mommies? Did you have one once? Maybe one who even wanted to let you be a kid and not be faced with things that really should remain private?

When Rainbow Station and the Blue Store opened simultaneously (I have heard that people who open porn stores try to have two in close proximity but I don't know why), I was one of the mommies who did protest it—the stores are around the corner from an elementary school. My kids were in grade school then—and didn't want there to be a "CORN STORE" opening on the avenue!—and I found it a little hard to explain why there were manikins in the window showing stuff that would make a kid uncomfortable. It's hard enough to explain life to kids but sexuality is a tough topic beyond the basics. My kids grew up knowing that boys can love boys and girls can love girls and we made sure they knew that it was perfectly fine and normal. Living in Chelsea made that easy to explain.

I couldn't care less who you love or how you love or make love or how you dress, but some stuff is just better not displayed outside. Would you like to see a medical supply place with a manikin showing what an ostomy bag looks like?

And yup, I'd rather a business like this than another chain store or nail place, or ATM or drugstore, but sadly my neighborhood is going that way, getting sterile and uglier by the day.

Anonymous said...

While I do agree that The Blue Store is a very well-run porn shop, I think they should not have expanded into that place. While that place was empty, the landlord wasn't collecting any rent ... yet they still need to pay property taxes on the whole building. I'd rather see the landlord suck it for at least ten more years for what they've done to Rawhide rather than get rent money for that spot ... even if the new business is a gay establishment.

And to the woman that said she'd much rather have a sex shop than another Walgreens - GERL, THANK YOU!!! I haven't laughed this hard and this loud in months !!!!

Anonymous said...

While better than that awful sounding pizza disaster, apparently the Blue Store beat out several gay bars who were vying to open in the old Rawhide spot, and reportedly, is opening a high-end lingerie shop geared towards the straights. A win but not a win.

Questinia said...

Aspiring Gotham shop owners take note: In order to make it here sell sex and underwear.

Note to aghast moms: I partly grew up in Stockholm and there was sexual imagery everywhere including, on one occasion that I recall, in and out intercourse on TV. I distinctly remember thinking something along the lines of "these are just other mysterious things adults do that are weird and funny".

Anonymous said...

Hey angry mommy - you should have raised your kids in Iowa. We hate mommies like you because you're a hypocrite. You protest porn shops which makes you homophobic. Then you complain the area is sterile. Well people like you make it sterile. Some of us moved here to get away from people like you. And you move to Chelsea. Why did you move here? And if think these tame stores are bad you should have been here 25 -30 years ago.LOL. But people like you sterilized nyc. You prob loved Bloomberg too. Why do you post here? You and your ilk are the reason this site exists. You're like the simpsons character who always says 'what about the children'? It used to be understood that if you raised kids in old school ny that they would be exposed to a real, gritty, amazing urban experience. They'd be more worldy than their sheltered suburban counterparts. People like you don't want that. YOU want a sterile boring whitewashed city. You are terrible. I wish you people would vanish.

Anonymous said...

This is not good news. I'm against the chains but 8th Avenue has turned into a total crappy disaster. This is not the type of small business that serves the neighborhood or improves it. It's simple filling space. How many jock strap and glory hole stores are needed in one small strip? Will this attract other business... no. Deliver anything new... no. All the owners other stores are filled with hustlers and meth heads. The neighborhood is not even gay anymore, so this business is puzzling. 8th Avenue needs help.

Cheek to Cheek said...

Perhaps you don't remember Public Enema, the West Village syringe emporium that carried nothing but(t)?

They were all prominently displayed in the window; in some cases strategically positioned with/inserted into mannequins, in case anyone wasn't sure what end went where.

For no less than 2 decades, their trademark complimentary enema hose, hanging just outside the door not unlike that of a gas station's compressed air version, was there for any passerby to sample.

I don't recall any outcry over it by anyone, anytime. Even during the height of the AIDS hysteria, it hung & swung there, bearing silent witness to the ever creeping gentrification.

Someone cut it down one night; the business closed shortly after that.

Cheek to Cheek said...

Beyond spot on: Bravo! In no way could I have said this any better myself.

Ah guess da "Children of the Corn" don' wanna see no porn!

Richard Federico said...

This is a bit of good news indeed! I have been getting very concerned that the Village is loosing all of the recognizable character that once defined it. This is a small relief, and also proof that businesses like The Blue Store are still essential and profitable establishments. Starbucks and the like aren't the only successful business models out there, though this has become the perception. I am glad that NYC still has a gay and hip district that at least for now seems to allow for a variety of experiences! Most other districts now are not discernible from each other anymore. Maybe this expansion is a sign the tides are turning?? Hey, it's a big world out there mommies!

Anonymous said...

While the post from anonymous at 1/30 1:07pm was a bit harsh, he (or she ?) does bring up some good points about living in NYC.

Madam, I understand that sexuality is a tough topic to explain to kids, but NOTHING about raising children is ever easy. Yeah, there's gonna be questions (oh boy are there gonna be questions!) If it's something that embarrases you, just tell them that it's something embarrasing for you to talk about. Don't give them the impression that it's taboo and something they're "not supposed to know" because believe me, that will motivate them even more to seek other sources for their information. It's better they get it from their parents.

I too remember NYC as it was 30 years ago - was in my early teens but have "vivid" memories of how it was. Those mannequins at Rainbow Station are nowhere near as explicit as to what people were showing off back then. Let's not even get into what goes on around the streets in places like Amsterdam ... and (as someone else wrote) in Stockholm ... yet kids still grow up just fine.

Presumably, you did your research about Chelsea and knew what the atmosphere was like in that neighborhood. Yet you chose to move here anyway but then protest those businesses .. who really aren't showing all that much on display anyway. When people are uncomfortable about something (or even hate something), whether it be sex, guns, video games, explicit music, etc., they always seem to "transfer" their discomfort to children and then protest against it "for the sake of the children". They are unable to come to terms with their discomfort and so that part of their "psyche" reverts to an early childhood stage of innocense. I personally don't agree with that poster about you being a hypocrite and I certainly don't want people like you to vanish. What I do want is for people like to you to stop for a minute and look within yourselves to find the true cause of your discomfort and come to terms with that rather than take something away from everyone else.

I was once making out with a friend of mine on our way home late at night when this straight couple were walking past us. They appeared to be in a midst of an argument and then the gentleman pointed to US and said "and LOOK at what THEY'RE doing!!!!" We were like really ? We've been doing this HERE for decades, why are YOU here ? When I lived in Chelsea, I once saw from my apartment window another straight couple literally having sex on the front hood of someone's car. The next day as I was passing by, you could see handprints as well as other parts of the woman's "upper-body anatomy" imprinted on that dusty car. I didn't feel the need to protest anything. If anything, my thoughts were focused on what a shame it was that the owner of such a nice red convertible would let it go for so long without a carwash.

Bottom line is that why can't New York City be the city where there's something for everyone ?

John K said...

Jeremiah's periodic call for better protections for small-businesses/non-chains will definitely provide incentive to brake this chainification of New York, but I often worry that even if it did happen, it would be too late.

A Chipotle or Starbucks or TD Bank on every corner means money for those national and global chains, but does nothing for the cultural and social ecosystem of a city like New York, which has always had national chains but also has had dynamic local, small, non-chain businesses.

The smaller businesses are being driven out, primarily by greed, which masquerades as "the market." On one level, I can understand why landlords, especially smaller ones, are trying to get as much as they can.

On the other hand, I think we should acknowledge that NY real estate corporations, some of them pretty big, are padding their pockets right now because they can, and they, in concert with the state (cf. Sheldon Silver, now under indictment!) and city (especially under Bloomberg), have set the laws up in their favor.

It's not too late. But what does need to happen is that more NYers must actively and consistently lobby not just the City Council but Albany to change things, and people like Protective Mom ought to acknowledge their role in the process of making things "sterile." It didn't have to go this route, but now it's almost like an out-of-control steamroller, and what will be left in the end?

A grotesquely expensive, dull, endless outdoor chain-filled high end suburban mall in place of what used to be one of the most singular cities in the United States? No thanks!

Anonymous said...

In the late 70's, there were a series of "I LOVE NEW YORK" campaigns designed to promote tourism in NYC. It had a whole range of people participating in those advertisements and it had a very uplifting effect on the city as well as it's people. The song as well as the campaign's icon (letter "I" with a red heart and "NY" below it) are pop culture icons recognized throughout the whole world.

I propose we have a new slogan that reflects the times. How about "NEW YORK DOESN'T LOVE ME" ?

Anonymous said...

My response to Anonymous’ post January 30, 2015 at 1:07 PM, quoted below:

"Hey angry mommy - you should have raised your kids in Iowa. We hate mommies like you because you're a hypocrite. You protest porn shops which makes you homophobic. Then you complain the area is sterile. Well people like you make it sterile. Some of us moved here to get away from people like you. And you move to Chelsea. Why did you move here? And if think these tame stores are bad you should have been here 25 -30 years ago.LOL. But people like you sterilized nyc. You prob loved Bloomberg too. Why do you post here? You and your ilk are the reason this site exists. You're like the simpsons character who always says 'what about the children'? It used to be understood that if you raised kids in old school ny that they would be exposed to a real, gritty, amazing urban experience. They'd be more worldy than their sheltered suburban counterparts. People like you don't want that. YOU want a sterile boring whitewashed city. You are terrible. I wish you people would vanish."

———————————————————————————

You’re wrong on so many counts. You know that when you assume…you make an ass of yourself.

I am so not an angry mommy. Sorry to hear that you hate moms like me, moms who raise our children to be kind, compassionate, inquisitive and aware of the world around themselves, to engage in their community, to have a sense of obligation to participate in the world they live in, to work towards positive change that includes not just the middle class, but the lower classes, who are entitled to live comfortably, safely and to be able to feed their children and educate them, too, as well as the moneyed classes.

Your comment about raising my kids in Iowa is idiotic—maybe that is where you’re from, but I am a native of NYC. I lived here during the years when it was a disaster—when it was unsafe for a girl to take the train to high school alone, but I did it, even got assaulted by a bunch of girls on the way home—that was part of living here. I never thought of the grit of the 70s as a problem, I accepted it. Always loved NYC, always will, though certainly not the thing it is turning into.

I’m not a hypocrite and I am far, far from homophobic. Not all porn shops are for gay clientele only, FYI. Why did I move to Chelsea (in 1982), you ask? So I could live near my many gay friends in a neighborhood that was interesting and lively. I was here not only 25-30 years ago but more like 55+ years ago. No, I didn’t “sterilize NYC,” I’m one of those people who doesn’t patronize Starbucks, who goes out of my way to shop in human-owned businesses and who avoids the latest gelato joints. And no, I was never a fan of Bloomberg or his money-centric policies that have destroyed the city, as far as I am concerned. Nice assumption.

Why do I post here? Because the first thing I read every morning, for several years now, is JVNY, so I can know what’s going on in the city I love and sometimes hate. So I know what businesses to patronize, before they’re all gone. It's not in my family’s budget to dine out or shop much, but we do what we can to support those businesses—we took our kids to Cafe Edison before it closed because they wanted to go there. I’m not a “what about the children” parent at all. My kids are the least entitled, spoiled or materialistic of all of their peers. They are worldly and have traveled and volunteered in countries around the world, and actively participated throughout their HS years in a homeless shelter that my husband coordinates.

Your assumption that I want a “sterile boring whitewashed city” is so far off, it’s funny. Thanks for telling me I’m terrible, and that you wish I would vanish. Perhaps, and I could be wrong, you’re a heterophobe who has nothing kind to say about us “breeders.” Your anger is palpable—instead of writing a diatribe against someone you don’t know, use your energy to make positive change happen here if you love NYC so much.

Anonymous said...

My response to Anonymous’ post January 31, 2015 at 12:40 AM…

You wrote,

"Madam, I understand that sexuality is a tough topic to explain to kids, but NOTHING about raising children is ever easy. Yeah, there's gonna be questions (oh boy are there gonna be questions!) If it's something that embarrases you, just tell them that it's something embarrasing for you to talk about. Don't give them the impression that it's taboo and something they're "not supposed to know" because believe me, that will motivate them even more to seek other sources for their information. It's better they get it from their parents.…"

[redacted for brevity]
——————————————————————————————————————————
Well first off, I’m not a madam (but what an interesting job that would be!). Thank you for being gracious in addressing me politely, instead of insulting me.

Yes, it is hard to explain a lot of things to kids, like the funny smell that’s unlike cigarettes coming from down the hall, but fortunately, matters relating to men loving men and women loving women have never been an issue, always been normal for my kids. Just today I told my child who’s in HS about how I smoked pot and did “other stuff when I was younger.” I wasn’t embarrassed or uncomfortable, I just told the truth. No big deal. Same thing with sexuality.

As I responded to the very crabby person who called me “angry mommy,” I moved here knowing full well what Chelsea was like and there was nothing that bothered me—I loved the neighborhood from the start, in 1982. I’m not transferring discomfort to children—I have NO discomfort about anyone's sexuality, or homosexuality, but I was not pleased that two stores opened in close proximity to a school. There is a rule in NYC that businesses such as porn stores are not to be within a certain distance of schools—and somehow these stores flourish around the corner/across the street from PS11. So you’ve made another assumption about me, just like the previous poster.

I’m sorry you overheard someone being rude about who you kiss—that’s appalling to me, that someone would comment just about in your face that way. In my house my kids grew up knowing that we don’t care who you love, how/who you have sex with, who you pray to, as long as you are kind, decent and ethical and do not harm anyone. As I said above, my kids grew up knowing that men can love men and women can love women, and they couldn’t care less. My older child knew had a classmate in grade school who transitioned when of the legal age to do so but lived as the opposite gender for many years, and my child’s appropriate reaction was, “So what? Can we get back to what we were talking about?” If I wanted to raise my kids in a homogeneous white middle class neighborhood, believe me, I wouldn’t be here, I’d be in the burbs (excuse me while I cringe up at the thought).

So you saw people screwing on a car. Hmm. People have been shooed from in front of my building in broad daylight for screwing on the property—hey, whatever floats your boat, but it’s not the kind of thing people should be doing outdoors in front of other people. NYC used to be the kind of city where there was something for everyone, but now I think it’s a tourist mecca and a place to go shopping and for the uber-wealthy to unload their cash by driving up real estate prices for the rest of us. I miss the grit and the color and texture of life in NYC, and I sure as hell hate what’s happened here.

Anonymous said...

Since you responded twice mommy we must have hit a nerve I've lived here my entire 45 years. I know guessing someone moved here is the first response . Sorry. And I stand by my post. The fact you're a native makes us you worse to me. Yes I'm crabby and angry. And protesting those shops makes you bad. Despite your claims to the contrary. The fact you spent the whole comment telling us how wonderful your family is is pretty telling. But keep protesting and ruining what's left.

Anonymous said...

Dear Crabby and Angry,

I replied twice because each of you who commented on my comments deserves a separate response.

I'm sorry you're so crabby and angry but making judgments, calling me names and insulting me and my family because you *assume* I'm responsible for the changes that have happened here is unnecessary and childish.

You're a misanthrope not worth the electrons necessary to transmit these sentiments, so I won't be checking back to read your response.