Trash and Vaudeville is going, St. Marks Sounds is gone, and a Caffe Bene is on the way. But, as noted in a new history, St. Marks Place “will probably always elude true respectability.” Indeed, the block between Second and Third Avenues just got a new sex shop.
Chest of Pleasure, as the Sri Lankan-owned endeavor is called, pretty much keeps it old-school: it sells lingerie, role-play costumes, lube, oil, specialty condoms (big, small, flavored), a rack of smut magazines, a small library of porno DVDs, and dildos of every shape, size, and function. Hanging in the back, like something out of Sir Ivan’s dungeon, are all sorts of leather straps and chains with no obvious indication of how or where to use them. According to the attendant on duty, the neon vibrators are popular.
The shop’s name is a play on Pleasure Chest, which has locations in Greenwich Village and the Upper East Side. So Chest of Pleasure is actually kind of meta: it harkens back to a seedier St. Marks while co-opting the name of a store that is decidedly anti-seedy. Andy Warhol, whose Exploding Plastic Inevitable is now a Chipotle, would be proud.
Chest of Pleasure, 31 St. Marks Place, 2nd Floor, 646-918-6197