Manhattan's Prettiest-Looking Sex Shop

05/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's one of those archetypal New York scenes: a squat, three-story building dwarfed on all sides by towering skyscrapers, the little building that could.


Except, this little building happens to house a sex shop. Or at least, it did.

I shot pictures of this beautiful art nouveau building at 38th Street & 8th Ave with the intention of arguing its place as the most attractive building to house a sex shop in Manhattan. Except...


...Now, about a month later, when I finally get around to writing the post, it's become a freakin' 2 Bros. Pizza! Come on!


OK, the sex shop is not entirely gone - it still takes up half of the building, though its signage has been significantly reduced. Regardless, the building itself is still a gem, and is covered in beautiful detail-work for anyone who takes the time to look.


The building is lined with these fantastic busts - one on the east side, five on the north:


A close-up look:


The second-floor windows are all decorated in a vine motif:


I love that the building has angled windows with a northern view up 8th Ave. And that roof is pretty damn incredible - at this point, it seems to almost be melting onto the building.


A closer view - it's hard to see, but there are small lion heads on each of the supports:


Beautiful bay windows on the northern side:


A full view of the northern side...


...Featuring an additional row of busts:




And finally, the entrance to the upper floors, with an ornate gated door and topped with a lion head:


The New York Press did an article on the building's history, which you can read here. Still not landmarked, it's sad to see how the bottom floor has been gutted to make way for varying establishments over the years. Here's hoping the worst of the damage has been done.


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