The Prude’s Guide to Sex in NYC 

Hello everyone. Prudence Endicott Mathers here. The people at The L Magazine have asked me to contribute my ideas on what to avoid in New York City. If, like me, your sensibilities run more towards hymns than hymens, and believe sex belongs in the bedroom with shades drawn, I think you’ll appreciate my list.

1. Museum of Sex
To me a museum of sex is like a church of Satan (and yes, I know they have those too) but to squander a good portion of the city’s real estate to put upon display all manner of lewdness under the guise of Art? Current “exhibits” include an effort to map the prurient behavior of museum-goers (“Mapping Sex in America”) as well as some tripe about early stag films and four centuries of smut in Japan. Sickos.
233 Fifth Ave.

2. Sleazy Motels
Hard as it is to believe, but there are still by-the-hour motels in the Tri-State area. The deceptively monikered Windjammer Motor Inn seems to cater less to those with an affinity for sailing and more, it would seem, to those who like their vacations four hours at a time. Likewise the Jamaica JFK Inn sullies the name of a former chief executive with its round-bedded rooms and hardcore pornographic motion pictures no less!
3206 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn; 154-10 Conduit Ave, Queens

3. Zebulon
Good heavens! Or should I say “mon Dieu!” This southern French jazz bar (need I say more?) has all the low lighting my beloved Aunt Cecil warned me of, creating plenty of dark nooks and romantic crannies for wanton inappropriateness. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to hear French being spoken on a dance floor that seethes with suggestive body motions. French: The language of love! Dancing: Horizontal copulation! It all adds up to danger.
258 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg

4. Coyote Ugly/Hogs and Heifers

Sure, I enjoy a snifter of brandy at Christmas; maybe even a tickle of port with a nice Stilton and a good literary thriller… But if I were ever to set foot in a public house, these are two brassiere-themed saloons I would surely avoid. The patrons in these establishments behave boorishly and permissively, encouraged the whole time by a bare-midriffed serving staff that seems better at flashing skin than recommending a vintage. Scandalous.
153 First Ave; 859 Washington St.

5. Corner of Driggs/N4th, Williamsburg
I am told that Williamsburg is far along the path to full-scale gentrification. Be that as at it may, the north Brooklyn neighborhood’s pre-condo depravities linger in small degrees: much like WWII Japanese soldiers stuck on small Pacific islands fighting the war years after its completion, members of the world’s oldest profession can occasionally be found plying their trade on this particular corner (a handy spot for all those truckers getting off the BQE to deliver their goods.) Though your resolve is strong, why even test it?

6. West Side Club
Public hygiene is a truly noble undertaking, one with which I have absolutely no quibble whatsoever, but honestly, when you have a “bathhouse” with no actual baths, something smells musty. To make matters worse, this place is open day and night, so the opportunities for dalliance, in towel and out, are legion.
27 W 20th St.

7. White Lotus East
First of all, have you ever really looked at a lotus flower? Suggestive, bordering on the obscene. This Tantra-happy place seems delighted to offer erotic massage and, I hesitate to even say it, “erection control.” Though I admire self-control in all respects, practicing it in order to gain sensual pleasure should be punishable by prison time. Worst of all, they offer their lubricious services to men and women alike.
Park Ave South location,

8. Rated X: The Panty Party
Oh dear. This weekly party, which, sadly, has managed to survive one courageous club owner’s objections, features a late-night pornographic contest in which revelers of all dimensions become fully nude. Disgusting.
Saturdays at Luke and Leroy, 21 Seventh Ave.

9. Happy Ending
I am a big believer in redemption. Even if a person has led a life of positively unimaginable lewdness it is always possible for that individual to make a change for the proper side of things. In the case of this “nightclub/bar,” however, someone has decided to celebrate the fact the location had a former incarnation as a parlor in which massage technicians were encouraged to provide “help” in satisfying those baser needs of the clientele. And so now our youth dance, drink and become sweaty in a true den of iniquity. For shame.
302 Broome St.

10. Duvet
I can’t even begin to address the prurience behind this diabolical undertaking. Dancing is bad enough, but this spot features beds and mattresses strewn about, creating an occasion for all kinds of sin. Beds are for sleeping in, if you ask me.
45 W. 21st St.

11. Kiki De Montparnasse
I may be a prude, but I do understand that sex is biological imperative, necessary for the propagation of the species. I also understand the need for commerce as an important aspect of any healthy society. Nowhere, however, in our DNA, does the need for high-priced bells and whistles come into play vis a vis the sexual act. Be warned, this place is chockablock with extravagant “instruments of pleasure,” some of which, apparently, are platinum and gold plated. Caligula could do no worse.
79 Greene St.

12. DeMask
The Dutch city of Amsterdam has long been spoken of in my family with tones of foreboding and, occasionally, downright terror — for good reason. Sodom on the Amstel is liberal about almost all the vices known to man, beginning and ending with the big one (sex). So it was a huge disappointment when I discovered a little corner of Amsterdam had made it to our shores in the form of this lurid fetish shop. Hoods? Masks? And my stars, what on God’s earth is a gynecological chair?
144 Orchard St.

13. Vulgaris
Rock ‘n’ roll music, whether of the classic or independent variety, involves a certain amount of questionable morality. I’m aware of that and accept it as the occasional price to pay for a beat that you can snap your fingers to. The Gotham-based band going by the moniker Vulgaris, however, do a disservice to rock ‘n’ roll, New York City, and anyone who attends their shambolic performances, which I’m told involve gratuitous amounts of nudity, sticky substances and sharp-edged blades. Pat Boone,  rest in peace

14. Miss Dolly
There are those of us who feel as if we deserve to be punished. Fair enough — I’m all for retributive morality, but if this prurient princess had her way, men for whom pleasure is pain (or is it vice versa?) would be lining up for spankings, canings and all other manner of unmentionables. Her name (I’m obliged by my editors to reveal) is Miss Dolly — and her fairly sweet demeanor belies a desire to inflict pain.

15. The Leather Man, Incorporated
The only leather man I approve of is the multipurpose hand tool (a delightful implement for both splicing screens and cutting celery). I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that a store exists solely for the consumer needs of grown men who like to play with paddles and whips whilst cavorting in buttock-less chaps. Gives ranch hands and motorcycling enthusiasts a bad name.
111 Christopher St.

Well, enough with the hectoring. Though the Forces of Louche are all around us, there do exist occasional oases in which sex is kept at bay…

A. The Merchant’s House Museum
Suffice to say, the 20th century was a long, slow period of decline into the ubiquitous vice and moral laxness that confronts us today. Though I try to fight it wherever I see it, sometimes one needs to take solace in the past: The Merchant’s House Museum. This wonderful testament to 19th-century propriety sits demurely on E. 4th Street, a perfectly restored temple of chastity and right thinking, formerly the home of the upstanding Tredwell family. Now through July 25 features an exhibit entitled “With This Ring: An 1872 Wedding at Home in New York,” which will restore your faith in all that is good and pure.
29 E. 4th St.

B. Eisenberg’s
Are you tired of seeing high-cheekboned waitstaff encased in sleek, black fabric every time you try to go out to eat in New York? Fear not, there is a place where no one aspires to a career on Broadway or the big screen: Eisenberg’s. This egg cream institution always feels like it’s the fall of 1959, and with a charmingly well-worn gang of countermen, the only thing on your mind will be whether or not to order another malted.
174 Fifth Ave.

C. Friends Seminary
Children nowadays are exposed to all varieties of sordid influence. We’ve come to expect such dark morality from Madison Avenue peddlers of filth, but our nation’s schools? A quick peek into today’s classrooms reveals a maelstrom of tangled hormones, exposed G-strings and acne-coated lust. The Quakers, however, have a better way. Since 1786 they’ve been teaching children the values of respect, moderation and simplicity in living. God bless them .
222 E. 16th St.


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