A $13.8M peep show: Porn shop, venue gets new owner

Even porn shops aren't safe from the retail crisis

New York /
Jun.June 01, 2018 03:50 PM

Playpen at 687 Eighth Avenue

Many peep shows involve a price negotiation. In this case, the parties settled on $13.8 million.

Trans World Equities purchased 687 Eighth Avenue — home to Playpen and the Gotham City adult video — for $13.75 million, according to documents filed with the city’s Department of Finance. The building’s owner was Quad Real Investments, an LLC controlled by George Zazzali.

The buyer is a Midtown-based real estate firm that owns rental and retail properties in Manhattan. Based on StreetEasy, there are at least two active residential units in the building’s upper floors.

Neither the buyer or seller could immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

It’s not clear if a change of hands will impact the peep show and porn shop, but the recent closure of similar establishments in Times Square doesn’t seem to bode well for the industry. One of the city’s most well known venues, Show World Center at 671 Eighth Avenue, appears have closed following the death of its millionaire owner, Richard Basciano (a.k.a. the Sultan of Smut) last year. His estate filed plans last month to convert the 12-story building into offices. Vihan’s Video, another such establishment at 592 Eighth Avenue, appears to be closing, according to the blog “Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York.”

Playpen reportedly has viewing booths on the third floor for private live shows, in addition to more than two dozen video rooms. The business is one of the last of its ilk in an area that was once teeming with neon and promises of “GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS.” In the 1990s, the Giuliani administration wielded zoning rules to cut down on adult establishments.

Now, like most retail in the city, such shops face fierce competition from a singular source: the internet.


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