Friday, February 13, 2015

The Unicorn


It's another loss for gay 8th Avenue. After 21 years in Chelsea, The Unicorn, a gay XXX video and toy shop, is closing this Sunday night at 2:00AM.

Thanks to reader Albert for pointing us to the news, posted to the shop's Google reviews page. The manager writes that the closure is "due to a huge rent increase." The building was sold and the new owners have other plans for the space.

The Unicorn is like a secret spot, around the corner off 8th Avenue on West 22nd Street. It has no neon signs and no rainbow flags, just a purple door topped by a small, faded awning. Walking in, you feel rather furtive, like you've slipped away from the everyday world.

In the back is a dimly lit lounge, outfitted with couches and video booths where men linger in the shadows. It costs $12 to go in through the turnstile and there is decidedly no readmission.

The shop itself is clean and well-lit, run by a couple of friendly guys who might engage you in a chat about the changes that have come to Chelsea, how all the gay businesses are being pushed out, forced away from 8th Avenue.

In recent years, as Chelsea has hyper-gentrified, the city tried to close The Unicorn, along with the other gay adult shops nearby. They failed, but there's nothing you can do when your building's been sold to a new owner who wants you out.

The shop will be moving their merchandise uptown, to their other store, Les Hommes at 217 West 80th Street. Les Hommes has been in business since at least 1985, when it weathered the AIDS crisis and the city crackdown on gay sex shops.

Through this weekend, the Unicorn is having a Valentine's Day/closing sale. Everything--except the poppers and pills--are 50% off.

"Fleshlights and Fleshjacks half off? You can't find that price anywhere."

More lost gay 8th Avenue:
Rainbows & Triangles


Anonymous said...

50% off everything BUT poppers?!?!?

Anonymous said...

i'm sure it'll become some stupid small plates or "speakeasy" joint in no time

Anonymous said...

Where is the comment from angry mommy? is she planning her next protest? She must be thrilled about the news. This is just another nail in the coffin I guess. But the stroller pushing -whole foods shopping -Starbucks loving- Bloomberg voting-chain store patronizing- wannabe suburbanites who now roam the streets will now look for their next target. How long before all these places are gone? Its all about the children! Yes because all of your lives need to revolve around you and your offspring. When did Chelsea become a giant day care center? And why would anyone want to live here anymore? I know I don't.

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah- I was just reading an article on the Chelsea now newspaper website. They have an interesting article about the recent cb4 meeting on the Intrepid. Apparently a woman- identified in the article as Pamela Wolff of the Chelsea West 200 Block Association-is leading the crusade to rid Chelsea of its gay porn shops. And yes she is worried about the children at ps11 on 21st bet 8/9. She plans on eventually meeting with the cb4 quality of life committee. She claims to be worried about the clientele of these establishments. I'm more worried about the community board and their clientele. So start prepping your next 8th Ave article. The mommies I described in a previous comment are taking their strollers and their puritan homophobic suburban standards to cb4 demanding action. There is no doubt they want all these places closed. So much for moving into an area and respecting the long time locals. I'm so angry and disgusted.

Anonymous said...

I look so lifelike
- John Michael Cox, Jr.

Anonymous said...

To the best of my recollection, Les Hommes on West 80th Street opened in 1979.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Thank you for the note about Wolff. Here she is:

Jeremiah Moss said...

Looks like she's old-school, been in the neighborhood since at least the 70s. So, not a new super-mommy anyway.

Anonymous said...

The angry mommy who posted mentioned having lived here for decades if I recall. So it could be her. Either way she is their representative and pushes their interests to cb4 and causes problems for the rest of us. Such a mess.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance. One less sticky-floored STD factory in NYC.

Anonymous said...

So sad and tragic that horrible people such as Pamela Wolff seemingly get away with destroying entire communities. And while doing so, pats herself on the back for what she perceives to be "good parenting." Disgusting. Can nothing be done?

Anonymous said...

Well, using Pamela's way of thinking, let's ban a few other things:

Automobile-related accidents have killed many children since it was invented a century ago. We need to ban them! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Bars and nightclubs serve alchohol which can lead to drunk driving and addiction. Nevermind that children that happen to wander into these places are escorted out (just like they get escorted out of these porn shops if they wander in there), the fact that these places exist need to be banned. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Fast-food is the main culprit of child obesity. We need to ban all forms of fast food joints like McDonalds & Burger King! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Let's ban all religion. I mean look at Christianity for example - a child walks into a church and they see a man on a crucifix: a Roman *torture* device. Members of clergy have been known to molest children as well. Ban religion! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Children have died from playing with electrical outlets and appliances. We need to ban electricity! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

In fact, I propose that we extend this effort and ban *anything* and *everything* that may be harmful to children. What will you be left with ? The human race would revert back to it's earliest stage of existence of "gatherers" and prey. Yes, before the first tool was ever created, humans were actually hunted by apex predators such as lions and tigers ... but at least mankind didn't create anything that would harm children. Let's revert back to the good 'ole days! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!

I tend to be extremely skeptical as to what these people's motives are considering all the shit I've learned about how politicians operate behind the scenes. As skeptical as I am, I'm willing to admit that there is a chance that this Pamela Wolff really is genuinely concerned with children and going about protecting them in her own way - as misdirected as it is. However, it is more likely that she's either a paid shill for someone with an agenda or a hypocrite that can't deal with her own issues. Just read the links Jeremiah provided above about how the city tried and failed to close down these shops in the past. Do you really think that Bloomberg just gave up ? Or are you willing to be open to the idea that he just went about it a different way ? He's no longer mayor but he's still pushing to get rid of all guns from the hands of citizens. Do you really think that that's ALL he's doing now ?

People please THINK. Excersize your free-will and think for yourselves. There is a lot more monkey business going on here than what's being presented to you.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

There were always mothers here - I mean how did people get born here for generations? - but when did the "mommies" take over and become so strident and obsessive about their offspring? As a (wait for it) mother, I loathe everything about them.

Anonymous said...

This is probably about real estate. I always think its about getting these places closed so they can redevelop the property. Just like the Unicorn closing. To the commenter above- these people are def anti bar/club/fast food. Bloomberg tried to get the feds to stop food stamp recipients from buying soda or anything that he deemed 'unhealthy'. This is all part of the liberal democrat nanny state. They want to run every aspect of our lives. If they pay for health care then they want to run your diet. Like Michelle Obama changing the school lunch menus to more 'healthy' options. Problem is the kids don't want to eat it so it gets tossed. Or Bloomberg telling shelters not to accept food donations that he deemed 'unhealthy' There is def an agenda of power and control and money. Look at the situation with the horses in Central Park. If those stables weren't on west side land that is worh untold millions do you think they would be pushing so hard to get rid of the horses? of course not. Sorry for ranting.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous @ February 16, 2015 at 5:33 PM,

You really need to medicate that problem of yours, or at least find a good therapist. You get stupider with your every comment.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ February 17, 2015 at 6:35 PM

You say that I get stupider with every comment - how is that so since that comment @ February 16, 2015 at 5:33 PM was the first comment that I've made in this article. You do realize that five "Anonymous" posts that came before mine can actually represent five different people ?

My my I DID strike a nerve with you didn't I ? Do you have anything to offer here in your rebuttal other than personal attacks ? Anything of substance at all ? If all you can manage are personal attacks anytime someone says or writes something that is contradictory to your beliefs, then maybe you are the one that needs a therapist ?

To Anonymous @ February 17, 2015 at 5:22 PM

I would go further and say that it's not just democracts but republicans as well. These days, it doesn't matter whether you vote for democrat or republican, it's all the same shit in the end. John F. Kennedy was probably the last "real" president. Congress and Senate have only a half dozen or so representatives that actually represent the people's interest. Everyone else is out for more power & control as you said.

Anonymous said...

Anon Feb. 16th 5:33 PM: Your post was great and extremely spot-on. Ignore the Mom Zomb's attacks and attempts to silence you. Please.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Chelsea and I loved it. Bright Food Shop, Big Cup, Arcadia, the combo antique store/cafe where Gym is now, the Cajun, the Viceroy, Camouflage, Paradise Cafe ... so many eclectic, warm, fun places.

Now if I have to go to Chelsea I get out ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago, I was at The Eagle in Upper Chelsea where I slugged down many cocktails and scored some coke from a friend. On my walk home, I decided to check out the back room of The Unicorn. So before I got there, I took a couple big snorts of the blow on a dark side street. Then I walked to the Unicorn, walked up to counter, and slapped down ten bucks for entry to the back. The cashier took one look at me and said, "Okay, but you might want to stop in the bathroom first and clean under your nose." Horrified, I went inside and ran to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror. Oh, my god. A huge splotch of white powder was smeared across my upper lip. I quickly took care of it and resumed my night of cruising.

Thank god I didn't pass any cops on my way to The Unicorn. And thank god that cashier didn't freak out about it, just gave me some helpful advice!

The Unicorn will be missed -- from lowlifes like me, if no one else.

Fish said...

Is it really that much of a tragedy to lose a porno store? It seems stereotypical to view it as part of the gay community - the store seems to pander towards people who watch porn or engage in sex.

TheBlueMan said...

Sometimes kids in their 20s are looking for a place where we can makeout or have sex so backrooms (or anywhere you can find privacy) are nice to slip into. Unfortunately, many are seen as sleazy and are occupied by male prostitutes. Fortunately the Eagle and the Cock are still around but some people don't care about getting blowjobs in a backroom. Most of the times someone's place is around the corner but I've come close to sneaking someone looking to blow me before into a backroom.

Also, some places on 8th ave have a nice selection of toys and harnesses and porn. I go both ways and i like buying physical copies of porn and erotica from time to time. It's not for everyone but I'm glad it's still there. You don't know how much something is worth till it's gone.