A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
By Nina Pajak
Somehow, somewhere amid the bright, shiny, blaring, gleaming wholesomeness that is the new Times Square, now grows a tiny seedling.
It’s small, yet, and is just beginning to germinate. Each morning, it strains its little leaves to meet the sliver of sun which manages to eke past the broad, dark shadows cast from the M&M Store and Bubba Gump’s Shrimp. Over time (perhaps a year), this seedling will—despite all odds—continue to grow and strengthen, getting larger and taller until passersby will not be able to ignore it as they bump along towards the vast revolving doors of Toys ‘R’ Us.
Resilience, thy name is Rick’s Cabaret New York: The #1 Gentlemen’s Club.
Yeah. That kind of gentleman.
Against all odds, the strip club is putting down roots and setting up shop in Times Square, a neighborhood which was once filled with other businesses of the kind, but now caters to a more “family friendly” atmosphere. Rick’s is already quite popular at its location near Penn Station and among the “Wall Street customers,” according to a spokesperson who spoke to (appropriately) The Wall Street Journal. In fact, sales have been positively booming since the whole financial industry collapsed. Well, that’s heartening. We’re still in the game!
It’s the age-old economic formula: as jobs and personal income go down, strip club profits go up. A suit has to drown his sorrows somewhere, doesn’t he?
I, for one, welcome the return of a little seediness to Times Square. Sure, it’s safer now, and tourists can feel free to wander around as though they’re on fake Main Street in Disneyworld, snapping pictures of creepy men in Elmo suits and spending $7 to eat a hot dog in the middle of 7th Avenue. But think of the benefits a little dose of “upscale” reality could do to help these tourists help themselves. For one thing, it might help to remind visitors that they are not, in fact, in a theme park. Cars will hit you if you stand in the middle of the street trying to take a picture of your girlfriend near a pretzel cart. People will pick your pockets if you aren’t paying attention. And for god’s sake, you do not have to buy the demo CD of the “aspiring hip hop artists” hawking them on the street. Likewise, when a crazed man with a knife goes bananas and cops open fire on him, they’re not joking. You should get out of the way. Seriously. Don’t make them ask you twice.
Also, if we dull some of the shine in that neighborhood, it may actually encourage newcomers to the city to, like, get out of it. I am always befuddled by why a person would travel all the way to New York only to eat in the same below-average chain restaurant you can find in any mall or airport in America. Or why they’d want to shell out to stay at a mediocre hotel in the middle of one of the loudest and least charming areas of Manhattan. Perhaps with the reintroduction of some less savory establishments, people will feel compelled to see what else our fair city has to offer, may check out some of the neighborhoods that are truly interesting and filled with history, independent businesses, and phenomenal restaurants (even if none of those places offer unlimited free breadstix).
Of course, Rick’s isn’t exactly an “All-Nude XXXX Peep Show Live Girls Live Girls Live Girls All Nude XXXX” type of establishment. I’m sure we’ll be less likely to see OTB spillover types there than well-coiffed men in Zegna suits. But still. It’s a place to start. Every garden must start from somewhere.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
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