Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Inside the Playpen Demolition

On my way to Port Authority last week, I passed the Playpen, or what's left of it. All that is standing, from what I can tell, is the front part's rear wall. The demolition guys let me sneak back and snap a few shots before they waved me away.

In the tangled mess, I recognized a sign that said ROOM, which, if I recall correctly, was the second half of the sign for MALE ROOM, the gay space on the Playpen's second floor. Below, an EXIT sign is visible on the wall. The door opens onto empty space.

Next to those small twin windows, you can see the remains of a filigreed detail, the leafy leitmotif between the cameos seen in the vintage photo below.

The little windows look to me like the portholes of a projectionist's booth. If that's the case, then we are probably looking at the back wall of the original balcony--a space that later became a spot for buddy-booth handjobs. In the MALE ROOM, you could also get up close and personal with those cameos, covered in porn-palace glitter.

vintage photo from photobucket

And from the front, the entire facade is gone, with its columns and cameos. This green wall may have been inside the projectionist's booth. Who knows what went on in there during the Playpen's porno days. If only this crumbling wall could talk.

1 comment:

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Hey, I did a piece on that theater too... A while back:

Postcards from Hell's Kitchen: Playpen