The End of an Era in Times Square
The Gaiety Theatre in Times Square, Manhattan's last male strip club, has closed its doors after nearly 30 years of notoriety. A message on the theatre's listed number says,
"The Gaiety Theatre is closed. Thank you for a wonderful 30 years. Also, watch the gay publications for a possible relocation address."
According to sources, the building housing it was sold and is being torn down to make way for a new development. This is certainly a passing moment in the city's gay history. With this last nail in the coffin the Disneyfication of Times Square can now be called complete.
The Gaiety opened its doors on a winter night in 1976 and consistently attracted an interesting mix of young hustlers, businessmen, tourists, and celebrities on the DL to its pleasantly dingy, boxy room with its small stage and sparkling curtain. Andy Warhol, John Waters, and Divine were all patrons back in the day but the theatre attracted legions more of the years, whether they were sitting in the back hiding behind dark glasses or not.
In 1992 Madonna published her Sex book and shined a spotlight on the theatre, employing some of its dancers, along with porn star Joey Stefano and German cult movie actor Udo Kier in her erotic adventure. (Photo above, more after the jump)
When Giuliani came in to clean up the image of Times Square back in 1995, the theatre scrambled and changed policies to adapt to the new code and stay in business. Since then, the porn shops and sex venues that used to litter the area have slowly vanished, one by one, but the Gaiety's demise is certainly a milestone in the history of sex in New York.