A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 16, 2009
Sodom South (Greenwich Street between Carlisle and Rector Streets)

Greenwich Street between Carlisle and Rector Streets was called “a kind of Sodom South” in the New York (NY) Times on March 9, 2007. A topless bar (Pussycat Lounge), Thunder Lingerie and a brothel all existed on the street that features three federal era (circa 1790s) row houses.

“Sodom South” is located south of 42nd Street, where these establishments flourished in the 1960s-1970s.


New York (NY) Times
March 9, 2007
Lower Manhattan Journal
A Seedy Stretch, Sure, but Worth Saving, Denizens Say

By ALAN FEUER
In the salivary glands of every true New Yorker is a taste for the salacious, what the French in their love of slumming like to call “nostalgia for the mud.”

It is not an easy craving to satisfy these days — particularly in Manhattan, where even the lowest Times Square porn shop now sells “I ♥ New York” coffee mugs.

In its own small way, one short block of Greenwich Street downtown has done its best to uphold the New York tradition for sleaze. The block, which lies between Rector and Carlisle Streets, just below ground zero, is a kind of Sodom South, boasting a topless bar, a peep show, a reputed brothel (raided last Wednesday by the police) and an otherwise ordinary pizzeria where, in the hidden bar in back, a patron can obtain a $10 lap dance with his $3 beer.

“It’s got a real gemütlich character,” said Robert Malmad, a resident and former advertising man, who has taken up arms of late to save the block.

What the block needs saving from is simple, he said: There are plans for a new hotel on either Greenwich Street or Washington Street, a block to the west, which may require the demolition of several local buildings. These include three 200-year-old Federal-era town houses, one of which is home to the Pussycat Lounge, a topless bar.

It is the Pussycat’s owner (and Mr. Malmad’s friend) who has led the charge against the new hotel; he is perhaps New York’s first and only strip-club-owning preservationist.

NYC Blocks
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Greenwich Street between Carlisle and Rector Streets
‘Sodom South’

(from Our Town Downtown)
By David Crohn
It’s 10:23pm, and here I am. Just south of the former site of the World Trade Center, as far from home as Australia, as the Upper East Side.

It’s almost dead here. No watchers at the Pussycat Lounge, no girls. Just me and the bartender, and a few alcoholics who came because it’s close and open.

Two drinks pass, and I slide off the bar and out the door. As I step out into more quiet, I wonder how I am different from the boozers and the reekers inside the Pussycat. Only a pretense toward intellectual honesty—akin to my low tolerance for alcohol—sets me apart.

It’s also tranquil a door down, at Thunder Lingerie. Just me and a few other shoppers, although I consider myself more of a browser for now. I could trade in a few of my singles for quarters and check out the peep show in the back, but without enough booze in my system the excuses gnaw at my newfound commitment to the Immersionist school of participatory journalism. The DVDs look dusty, the lights are too bright and the clang of a distant cash register all remind me—like the whiff of coffee from a stripper’s mouth—that this is nothing but empty, bloodless commerce. I return to the red glow of the Pussycat Lounge.

It’s 12:37am, and what the fuck an I doing here? Oh, that’s right, I am slumming. I’m probing the veracity of a recent New York Times article, “A Seedy Stretch, Sure, but Worth Saving, Denizens Say.” It said every New Yorker has a taste for the salacious, “what the French in their love of slumming like to call ‘nostalgia for the mud,’” and that this block, Greenwich Street between Carlisle and Rector, was a kind of “Sodom South,” home to the Pussycat, Thunder Lingerie and what was once a brothel fronted by an artist’s loft.

The New York Times - City Room
April 13, 2009, 6:45 am
Ask About the History of Manhattan
By The New York Times
(...)
COMMENTS
58. April 13, 2009
1:41 pm
I live in a very old row of walkups in the Financial District (some from the Federalist era) now known affectionately as “Sodom South” - technically, Greenwich Street between Liberty and Rector. I once found something online indicating that this used to be (until the 1960s or 70s) a very diverse, and very close-knit neighbourhood of families and family businesses. I am interested not only in the cultural progression over the years, but also in how this one little row of buildings managed to escape both the great fire of 1835 and the era of skyscraper development.
Mary

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • (0) Comments • Thursday, April 16, 2009 • Permalink