One more nail in the coffin of Times Square's sorted history
September 7, 2007, 10:11 am
A Seedy Eighth Avenue Landmark, Gone Dark
By David W. Dunlap
The homogenization of the Times Square area (yes, The Times has contributed to the phenomenon with its new headquarters opposite the Port Authority Bus Terminal) has claimed another quirky victim: the Playpen, a former cinema that closed recently after 90-odd years.
Very odd years.The Playpen is part of a larger parcel at the southwest corner of Eighth Avenue and 44th Street that is owned by a partnership including affiliates of the Tishman Realty Corporation. The partners have not gone public with their plans. They may not even have decided yet among themselves. But the future certainly does not include the old theater.
What Eighth Avenue will lose with its disappearance is more than an adults-only emporium with suggestive neon come-ons — “Live Girls,” “Preview Booths,” “Leather & Lace.” It will lose the last home of the Funny Store, an almost vaudevillian novelty shop. It will lose one of the most distinctive façades of any surviving theater from the early 20th century, a kind of heroic Palladian composition. And will lose a three-dimensional history lesson in the evolution of Times Square.