SiXXXth Ave.: The new Times Sq.


While sex shops have been replaced by Disney in Times Sq., in the last five years or so their numbers have been increasing in the Village, particularly on and around Sixth Ave., above and below. The first stores opened in a building on Cornelia St. that was converted to residential condos — the developer kept the ground floor commercial space on Sixth Ave. as a condo and put in the sex emporiums. Since then, more of the shops selling sex-related products and pornography have cropped up along Sixth Ave. One even recently opened on 13th St. and Sixth Ave. As opposed to the Pleasure Chest on Seventh Ave. S., which doesn’t have explicit window displays, the new places display costumes and other gaudy fare. A zoning regulation known as the 60/40 rule allows the stores to legally operate if a certain percentage of their sales items are not defined as sexual. A local resident reported that even Ricky’s convenience store at 11th St. and Sixth Ave. in on the act and has a “sex room.” The room has a sign saying no one under age 18 may enter. Dominick Costello, a partner in Ricky’s, a chain of 12 stores, said that the room has existed for over five years and that it sells novelty items for bachelorette parties and sexual aids you won’t find at Duane Reade — but no pornography. “We do it very tastefully,” he said.