Manhattan for adults


imes Square – the center  of the world, the most popular street in New York, which enjoys having thousands of visitors all over the planet every day. Bright advertising boards, a large crowd of fussy tourists and yellow cab cars — that’s the Times Square we know in XXI century.

But in 1980`s this place was famous for its pornographic theaters, sex clubs, gay theaters, live nude shows and walking through of it could be accompanied by an attack or a robbery. Today we want to recall the story of those seedy days and popular pornographic culture which ruled on the main street of the dangerous New York.


Let`s begin!

Of course, pornography is one of the oldest art forms on Earth and the porn movies are as old as the cinematography! Adult culture originated in the distant past.

Pornographic silent films were widespread in the 1920`s, but showing them was a crime associated with the prison time.

Up through 1940`s, dirty movies — filmed and produced by amateurs had been shown in private “exhibitions” held in brothels.

But the 60`s became the Golden Age of Pornography!

California was a home of the first legal adult theaters in the US, which quickly populated strips like Hollywood Boulevard in LA, then phenomenon quickly spread the smaller towns like Pasadena and the whole country later on has fallen under its control.


There were about 20 theaters that showed the pornographic movies in Los Angeles only in 1960.

The growth of the epidemic provoked the emerging of more than 47 adult movies theaters in the beginning of 1980`s in California.

A large national franchise of drive-in adult theaters, starting with a single drive-in in Durand, begin to appear these years.

The “Durand Dirties,” as they were known, quickly got to New York and had settled on city streets for long years.

It’s not hard to believe that streets covered with such entertainment venues became the meeting places for an intelligent people. Along with a total heroin addiction which has conquered the city in a middle of 70`s, soon New York had a new big problem. All these factors literally knocked out the city and pushed it towards the darkest times.

This phenomenon couldn’t leave a trail in a world culture.

The street photography of that period is an inexhaustible source of the inspiration for the fans of retrospective New York.

The Mayor was bothered by the situation in the late 80’s. In the same time, another important problem was solved. More than one billion dollars were invested in the reconstruction of Bronx and composition of the housing stock on the eve of the new century. Finally, New York got a new life. It was used as the great foundation in the fight against the seedy period of NYC history.

Only 20 Pussycat Theaters remained in 1990; by 1992, the number was less than a dozen. The owners of the Pussycat Theaters filed for a bankruptcy in 1994 and the number of porn theaters in a country had started to fall to less than 200.

The Internet replaced the theater’s shows and adult movie houses became dead and gone

In article used photos by Matt Weber, Mitch O’Connor and Steven Siegel.

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