The Real Deal New York

Desnudas descended from Domino Sugar Factory

Parties at the Williamsburg building inspired the topless women of Times Square

October 05, 2015 11:00AM

From left: Desnudas in Times Square and the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg

You can thank the iconic Domino Sugar Factory building in Williamsburg for inspiring the hordes of topless temptresses snatching $20 bills from tourists in New York’s absolute worst place ever — Times Square.

According to a profile of “the crossroads of the world” in New York magazine, dance parties in the factory across the river gave rise to the desnudas in the square.

“We used to go to parties in the Domino Sugar Factory, and they’d have body-painted girls handing out drinks and taking pictures with people,” said Chris Olivieri, who “manages” several of the painted ladies. “It was exciting. So we were like, ‘We could try this [in Times Square]. The Naked Cowboy’s out there.’ So we tried it one day and it was a big success.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s dream to rip up the plaza was widely condemned. A coalition of politicians, elected officials and business owners have since proposed a plan that would set aside certain areas of Times Square solely for the desnudas, panhandlers, fake Buddhist monks and assorted costumed characters.

The Real Deal reported last month that desire for office space in Times Square was falling, with workers complaining of the characters.

As for the Domino Sugar Factory, the parties are a thing of the past. Two Trees broke ground earlier this year on its $200 million residential conversion project. When construction is completed in 2017, the SHoP Architects-designed building will include 500 rental units, 105 of which will be designated affordable. [NYMag]James Kleimann