The Real Deal New York

Fertile ground: Properties of deceased Times Square smut king might now be in play

Richard Basciano, whose sex shops are now highly valuable properties, was 91
May 03, 2017 05:30PM

Show World Center (Credit Google Maps)

Richard Basciano, the pornography landlord eminence of the old Times Square, died at age 91. And his trio of properties on Eighth Avenue may now be on the block.

Basciano’s buildings on Eighth Avenue between West 42nd and 43rd Street have long been seedy venues for x-rated goods (and formerly live shows), but are now worth more than their weight in centerfolds. Show World Center, the Eighth Avenue shop, is still in operation and is one of the last XXX businesses around that survived the Times Square redevelopment and attempts by the Giuliani administration to crackdown on smut the 1990s.

The upward pressure that’s been put on real estate values in the area since that time was beyond the control of the king of porn. “Show World is going to close,” Basciano told Crain’s last year. “This real estate is very valuable.” The theater was once described by a city official as “flagship of the sex industry in New York.”

However, Basciano did not close the store while he was still alive and it’s unclear what will become of it.

In Philadelphia, Basciano became infamous for a 2013 building accident that killed seven people when a half-demolished Salvation Army store he owned on Market Street collapsed. Basciano was found liable for the incident and was ordered to pay $27 million into a $227 million settlement, the largest personal injury settlement in Pennsylvania history. [Crain’s] — Will Parker