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But with a friend’s encouragement, she agreed to “see what it’s all about.”Anastasia — who agreed to be identified by her confirmation name — started working at Show Follies, a former Times Square pornography emporium. I am very thankful for it.”Anastasia is thinking about returning to school in the hopes of starting a new career. But until then, they will keep reporting to work at the Playpen, even as it cedes ground to more modern forms of titillation, including live cam shows, the digital-era version of the peep show.“I can’t compete with the Internet,” the porter said. She quickly saw men do things that made her bless herself (“I thought I saw the devil”), but said she eventually got used to it. “With the peep shows, it’s a process that’s just an annoyance now. Amid the giant corporate logos and retail billboards of Times Square, the small neon signs seem almost quaint — one with an outline of a naked woman in repose, and others with capital letters blaring the store’s attractions. And for those that still exist, like the Playpen on Eighth Avenue, between 43rd and 44th Streets, even fewer offer the rarest of spectacles: the live peep show. Now there are fewer than a dozen here, surviving relics of sweeping zoning changes and of pornography’s migration to the Internet.
There are stools on both sides: one for the performer and one for her customer. Women stand at their entrances waiting for their cue.
They do not browse or peruse but instead walk with purpose, toward a familiar product or toward the booths. You lose touch with humanity.”The porter said his years at the Playpen had taken their toll.“I came into this business not understanding my behavior and how it affected other people,” he said, referring to problems with sex addiction he had earlier in his life. Back then it was like, yeah, I’m lying, but I’m making money.
Few utter even a word.“Everyone who comes through the door, they walk in with one thing on their mind, which is sex,” one Playpen employee, a porter, said. “And now you get to a point where you’re in so deep that you don’t know how to get out.
These days, she said, if she makes 0 during a shift, she is happy.“It’s kind of like a joke now,” she said. Giuliani began a campaign to close sex-oriented businesses, using zoning regulations to strictly limit “adult establishments.” The regulations were loosened after court challenges in the late 1990s, and now any store with at least 60 percent non-X-rated merchandise is not technically considered an adult entertainment business.
“Men come in now and they’re like, ‘They still have this? The zoning law change nonetheless succeeded in pushing adult businesses to industrial areas of the city.
She has names for them: “Stockings guy — he likes me to wear stockings. I have tape recorder guy, who I haven’t seen in forever. But at the same time, this job afforded me a lifestyle that I wouldn’t have been able to have.