Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was a gritty and wild land in the middle of Manhattan. Sex could be bought, or at least watched for a fee. Lawlessness and perversions abounded! And then, a man named Rudy Giuliani rode in on his metaphorical white horse and the Disneyification of Times Square began in earnest. Today all that remains of Peep-O-Rama, the porn emporium that held out the longest, is the neon sign (at right) that once marked its sordid existence.
Now, via the New York Times, the sign has been restored and, in an “ingenious refurbishment” it will hang at the visitors center of the Times Square Alliance, sharing space with the New Year’s Eve ball, a model of the original Times Tower, a Photomaton booth with Broadway backdrops for photo ops, and a wall upon which tourists can pen their nicey-nice messages on confetti to rain down on other tourists this coming New Year’s Eve.
Killing our sex drives all but completely,
Under the sign are three genuine peep show booths, equipped with video screens that — don’t blush — display very G-rated articles from The New York Times and photographs about Times Square’s evolution.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 6, 2010