The Most Impressive-Looking Sex Shop in Manhattan

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.


If you enjoyed reading this post, would you consider making a donation to help me make my first movie? The goal is $50,000, and to date, 1,728 Scouting NY readers have donated $36,348! Just $5 or $10 can make a difference - AND you get this snazzy Scouting NY sticker/magnet as a Thank-You gift! Click here to donate today!


And hey, if you've made it this far, why not follow us via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr?


  1. Looks to be a very beautiful with an impressive architecture!

  2. Stunning. Just stunning. Thanks for this one.

  3. I’m betting the fantastic busts are located inside. HEEEYYYYOOO.

  4. Drew Barrymore totally posed for that bust

  5. What gorgeous details! Too bad it isn’t on the historic register.

  6. Walk by this place everyday and as with most places in NYC, if you don’t look up you miss it all. Really is a beautifully detailed building.

  7. I’m grateful that i have found you site, there are none like yours here in Romania

  8. It`s truly an amazing building. I don`t think that is wrong that there was a sexshop or a pizza place, what disturbs me are those God awful tacky banners. The owners could try something more classy and chic.