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The Lion of Chelsea

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NYC: Sodom and Gomorrah or … Boston?
1840s—Obscene postcards can be purchased at nickel-and-dime stores all over town.

1908—Burlesque founding father Abe Minsky kicks off his adult-entertainment business with a downtown theater showing lewd films.


1930s—Times Square becomes porn central during the Depression, with “grinder houses” showing blue films.

1937—A stripper at Minsky’s New Gotham Theater in Harlem is spotted working sans G-string. City revokes Abe’s license.

1960s—Martin J. Hodas, “King of the Peeps,” puts porn movies in nickelodeon machines in Times Square.

1969—John Lindsay sets up a task force to crack down on sex shops and peep shows.

1972—Deep Throat opens to impressive grosses. The same year the first Times Square peep show promising LIVE NUDE GIRLS debuts.

1977—Show World Center, a bright, unintimidating Wal-Mart of porn, opens in Times Square.

1978—Women Against Pornography moves into its Times Square office. The group conducts tours of local peep shows.


1980s—The VCR.

1995—Rudy Giuliani ushers in new adult zoning laws.

1996—The last 42nd Street porn shop between Seventh and Eighth Avenue closes.

2005—The state’s highest court rules that stores selling pornography should be given a chance to prove they’ve cleaned up their act enough to remain in business. X-rated shops (with lots of legit DVDs in their front windows) make a pronounced comeback. Some even open up near Times Square.


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