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Thread: Sex Shops

  1. #1
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Default Sex Shops

    Getting hot about sex shops


    By David H. Ellis
    June 16 - 22, 2004


    It’s a familiar evening setting on Sixth Ave.: couples lingering at the window of an adult store, peering at the videos on display that are framed by a rainbow of feather boas, or a group of teenage girls bashfully giggling and pointing at adult sex toys before disappearing into the Village.

    The western side of Sixth Ave., between Carmine and Cornelia Sts. has been under the glow of the ruby and cerulean-blue neon lights of the 24-hour sex shops for several years now. This spring, Exclusive Video II became the third adult store to open on the popular Greenwich Village strip. Although there had been reports of “live sex shows” in the place, this is untrue. However, the store does have video booths in the rear showing X-rated movies.

    While current efforts are underway to revitalize the area, including a scheduled restoration of Father Demo Sq. and the reopening of the abandoned Waverly movie theater, many business and community leaders say that the “60/40” law, which was intended to help regulate the number of adult business in the city, has left them powerless in preventing the area from devolving further into a red-light district.

    “These places seem like they’ve taken 42nd St. and moved it over to the Village,” said Arthur Strickler, district manager of Community Board 2, about the existence of these adult-theme stores in the center of Greenwich Village. “People have always displayed their displeasure. But you can’t push them out — they’re operating a legal business.”

    While Exclusive Video II, Fantasy Party Inc. and Crazy Fantasy Video are some of the most visible of these type stores in the Village, they are not alone. Other adult novelty stores such as Cherry Boxx and Tic Tac Toe on W. Fourth St. and the Pleasure Chest on Seventh Ave. dot the Greenwich Village landscape, making up some of the approximately 135 XXX theaters, strip clubs, novelty shops, adult video and adult bookstores that the Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator estimates are located throughout New York City.

    The agency, which operates out of the mayor’s office and is responsible for monitoring these shops, maintains that the emergence of new stores is due to the problematic nature of the “60/40” law. The statute, which was enacted in 1998 and intended to disperse high concentrations of these businesses and eradicate them from residentially zoned areas, allows adult businesses to remain open as long as 60 percent of their merchandise and floor space is non-pornographic material. For a new store opening in a residential area, the non-adult material could, for example, include the board game “Between the Sheets,” red lace lingerie or sex toys, as long as 40 percent or less of what they sell or display is visual material such as adult videos, magazines and DVDs.

    “We see this is a serious quality of life issue but we are hampered because the law has a loophole you could drive a truck through,” said John Feinblatt, O.C.J.C. criminal justice coordinator.

    According to Feinblatt, his agency also has to struggle to make sure these stores are in compliance with the law.

    “It’s not hard to monitor. What’s hard is enforcement,” continued Feinblatt. “A store that wants to evade 60/40 can do so by restocking its shelves or by cordoning off areas of their establishment to come into compliance — that proves impossibly hard for us to effectively enforce this law when one can evade it by putting Disney films next to X-rated films.”

    Many owners and employees of the adult stores believe that the criticism is undue. They maintain that they run a legal business and point to their customer base as an indicator that their presence dovetails with the neighborhood.

    “We’re good with our neighbors,” said Yoni, a manager at Fantasy Party Inc. on Sixth Ave. who declined to give his last name. “People come from in the city, around the city and all over the place.”

    Melanie, an employee of the Pink Pussycat Boutique, who also declined to give her last name, said she has yet to hear a complaint from the neighborhood about their shop. “Everyone who comes in has nothing but good things to say,” she said.

    Despite the popularity of the stores, even neighboring business owners feel that the proximity of the sex shops not only provides a roadblock for an area renaissance, it also affects their business as well.

    “Everybody likes the sex shops,” said one restaurant owner on Sixth Ave. who declined to give his name. “But the way they present their business brings in cheap, cheesy people.”

    With the O.C.J.C. awaiting a ruling from a state Appellate Court that could allow the statute to be amended, groups on the local level are hoping that their vigilance will prevent the problem from getting any worse.

    “We’re keeping an eye on them and we think it is out of hand,” said Marilyn Dorato, presiding officer of the Greenwich Village Block Association and president of Waverly Bank 11 Neighbors. “It’s a complex problem. We’re in the talking stages. We’re trying to figure what to do about it.”


    The Villager
    Last edited by krulltime; April 14th, 2005 at 06:24 PM.

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    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    The statute, which was enacted in 1998 and intended to disperse high concentrations of these businesses and eradicate them from residentially zoned areas, allows adult businesses to remain open as long as 60 percent of their merchandise and floor space is non-pornographic material. For a new store opening in a residential area, the non-adult material could, for example, include the board game “Between the Sheets,” red lace lingerie or sex toys, as long as 40 percent or less of what they sell or display is visual material such as adult videos, magazines and DVDs.
    ha..now that is a loophole to I did not know. Intersting that the shops are setting in the village. I always though that Chelsea was going to be sprucing up with this shops...but for some reson it hasn't.

  3. #3
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    SEX SHOPS ARE FACING NEW HEAT


    By PATRICK GALLAHUE

    July 30, 2004 -- The city is ready to expand its sex-free zones.
    A new regulation, passed by the City Planning Commission on Wednesday, adds new limitations to the areas where "adult" businesses may locate.

    "The last set of zoning laws was already very restrictive," said Lonnie Hanover, a spokesman for the Scores strip club. "It's already extremely hard to find a spot to operate an adult business."

    The new regulation would allow religious institutions to open in manufacturing districts, where most sex shops now operate thanks to a 1995 Giuliani-era law that requires a 500-foot separation between the pious and the profane.

    Previously, houses of worship needed a special permit from the city to move into industrial neighborhoods.

    The regulations state: "New adult uses in these districts would be prohibited from locating within 500 feet of new or existing houses of worship."

    If churches move in, the sex shops would have to move out. The bill's champion, Councilman Tony Avella (D-Queens), said the bill would do more to restrict adult establishments.

    But the city predicted the effect on adult businesses would be minimal.

    A City Planning Commission spokeswoman said only 11 houses of worship had sought a special permit to operate in an industrial zone in the past 12 years and they don't expect an increase because religious institutions "would probably want to locate closer to their parishioners," she said.

    The City Council is expected to approve the change next month.


    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.
    Last edited by krulltime; April 14th, 2005 at 06:24 PM.

  4. #4

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    New York Times
    April 13, 2005

    Judges Back New York City's Effort to Curb Sex Shops

    By SABRINA TAVERNISE

    In a broad ruling that could sharply curb the sex shop business in New York City, a state appeals court yesterday upheld city amendments aimed at regulating the trade more tightly.

    The ruling, by judges from the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, First Department, overturned a lower court's decision and handed a victory to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who had pushed for tighter enforcement of zoning laws that regulate the pornography industry. Lawyers for the city were trying to close legal loopholes that have allowed sex businesses to operate in residential neighborhoods.

    The judges ruled in an appeal of an earlier decision favoring the sex shops, which had sued the city to challenge 2001 amendments that toughened standards for sex businesses. Previously, the businesses had been permitted to operate in residential areas as long as no more than 40 percent of their floor space was used for sexually oriented material, an allowance that city lawyers said was often abused.

    Lawyers for the plaintiffs, which include an adult movie theater, X-rated video stores and several strip clubs, said they planned to ask the court today to stay the ruling while they take their case to New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

    A lawyer for the plaintiffs said that if the stay is denied, the ruling would take effect immediately, leaving dozens of adult entertainment stores and clubs in violation of city rules and forcing them to close or risk fines or sanctions. But legal experts said the court would probably grant the plaintiffs' request.

    In a statement, Mr. Bloomberg said the decision "strengthens the zoning law and eradicates a gaping loophole that allowed strip clubs and porn shops to operate as freely as drugstores and supermarkets."

    The ruling has its roots in a 1995 law that sought to regulate the pornography industry by preventing the clustering of such businesses in residential areas. But the law was vaguely written, and other courts later interpreted it as allowing a store or club to operate in residential neighborhoods as long as 60 percent of its merchandise was not sexually oriented. City lawyers argued that the stores then camouflaged themselves by stocking their shelves with videos no one wanted to buy, like golf instruction titles or "Bambi."

    "There was a new animal in town, and it was known as a 60-40 establishment," said Martin Mehler, a lawyer for three such clubs.

    In 2001, the City Council passed amendments to require a stricter adherence to the law. Mr. Mehler argued that the amendments were illegal because the city did not conduct a study showing that the businesses were bad for neighborhoods. Without such a study, the plaintiffs said, the changes could be construed as targeting content, a violation of the First Amendment.

    But the four judges, sitting in Manhattan, rejected that argument. The amendments adopted in 2001, they ruled, simply furthered the original purpose of the law.

    "The courts of this state have long acknowledged that municipalities are vested with broad power to implement land-use controls and programs in order to confront the increasing encroachments of urbanization on the quality of life," the judges wrote.

    Citing a 1986 court case, the judges wrote that the First Amendment did not require a city to conduct studies that have already been completed by other cities. Lawyers for the city had cited a study conducted in the early 1990's showing that sex shops have adverse effects on their neighborhoods.

    Yesterday's ruling overturned a decision by Justice Louis B. York of State Supreme Court, who ruled in 2003 that the city's amendments were unconstitutional because no new study had been conducted.

    Herald Price Fahringer, a lawyer for some of the plaintiffs, said the case was really about the First Amendment.

    "This is a classic situation of manipulating zoning laws to suppress a form of information they dislike," he said. "To suggest for a moment that this isn't censorship is folly."

    The areas with the most complaints are Greenwich Village and the western edge of Times Square, each with more than a dozen businesses.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  5. #5
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    I personally think that too much sex shops in a cluster is not a good idea... The less of them the better. I don't want another neighborhood to become like 42nd street of the 80's...

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    What New York really needs is a red-light district to concentrate and regulate the sex-shop industry. Restrict residential development nearby, make it at least semi-easily accessible by mass transit, and let people simply, for lack of a better term, do their thing. Problem solved.

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    I agree about creating a distinct redlight district. The problem is that the continued restrictions on the ability of these places to operate becomes an infringement on our freedom and right to purchase this material.

    I can go anywhere within a couple of blocks and buy alcohol, which impedes judgement and has been linked to accidents causing deaths. I can go to any store within a block or two and purchase cigarettes, which have disastrous impacts on health and air quality. I can go to any cineplex and see murder, disemboweling, stabbing, wanton gun violence, war and mayhem. No one objects to any of this.But, the mayor and city are focused on making it harder and harder (pardon the pun) to purchase sexually explicit materials in the city.

    Sex is good. Sex is positive. Sex is pleasurable. Sex is natural. What is the harm? Screwed up priorities in a screwed up world and in a city being led astray by a lousy mayor.

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    Step Two in the Disneyfication of New York City: Move Beyond Times Square.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau
    Step Two in the Disneyfication of New York City: Move Beyond Times Square.
    There's still 8th Avenue

  10. #10

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    Don't speak so soon, TLOZ. My friend lives just off of 8th Avenue, right next to the antithesis of a nudie mag shop: a Christian book store.

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    I wonder what this anti-sex provicialism will do for new york's braggadocio? Can't claim to be the best at this one...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau
    Don't speak so soon, TLOZ. My friend lives just off of 8th Avenue, right next to the antithesis of a nudie mag shop: a Christian book store.
    Chances are the customers there are perusing the "Why I Hate Myself and Cling To Jesus" books, while wishing they were in a porn shop leering at Jenna Jameson or Aiden Shaw or Benji or Mr. Ed. I'll betthere's more "perversion" in that store than any place selling titty magazines.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
    Chances are the customers there are perusing the "Why I Hate Myself and Cling To Jesus" books, while wishing they were in a porn shop...
    Hey, that's an idea for a shop: 60% Jesus and 40% porn.

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    Hallelujah!

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    Amen to the red light district.

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