Here's your basic view from inside the booth.
Between 44th and 48th on the west side of Manhattan's 8th Avenue (the side of the street that gets dark a little earlier), there are four shining establishments where one can go to enjoy a wide selection of pornography, and to masturbate inside of a box. I did a quick after-work tour in the interest of helping you nail down the place that best suits your sensibilities.
GOTHAM CITY, 48th and 8th
My stop at Gotham City was by far the most pleasant. Walking in, I was greeted by a pale, chunky hippie girl. She immediately set me at ease with a welcoming smile, and I began to peruse the wide selection of adult entertainment Gotham has to offer. This place has it all. The first floor is mainly hetero-ish DVDs for purchase, along with around 8 booths for
private viewing jacking off. The same feature was playing in all of the booths (Facesitting Volume 10), so if I had to offer a bit of advice, it would be to maybe mix things up a little? Sure, you can change the channel once you’re in there, but starting out with the same asses on the same faces in each booth is boring. Give your customers a little variety and they will repay you with dollars and cum.
At Gotham City you get 90 seconds for your dollar, and the seating inside the booths is like some kind of huge-ass Star Trek chair with tons of space in case you really feel like throwing your whole body into your sesh. To test, I sat way back and spread my legs into a V at full extension with my toes pointed at the ceiling (as is sometimes required when bringing to the surface an extra-powerful jizz). Inside the box you have one main screen, the control panel, and a smaller separate screen above showing you four other features currently playing in your booth. The gay booths are downstairs, and seem equally as clean and comfortable as the upstairs booths. What sucks is there is an attendant downstairs who sits directly outside the doors of the gay booths. That's not exactly a deal breaker, but if you're a little shy about how loud you get when you crank one out, you may be slightly put off.
5 out of 5 chubbies
DVD DEPOT, 45th and 8th
A couple of blocks below Gotham City, you will find this three-boner establishment. Once again, you get 90 seconds for your dollar, and you have basically the same screen features as a Gotham City booth. What really sets DVD Depot apart from the other guys are their buddy booths. You can go into the store with a friend, he can get in the booth beside you, and a single dollar will play the same porno into both booths so you can synch up with your pal. There is also a three-inch wide slit about waist high on the divider where you and your bud can touch fingers or maybe penises by way of encouragement. You could also use the slit to check out each other’s stroke style if you’re looking for some new moves. The possibilities are truly limitless for this little bipod of brotherhood. When I stumbled in the other night to scout it out for this piece, three folded bills and two chubby old man fingers slid through to my side. Just because you don’t come into DVD Depot with a friend doesn’t mean you won’t leave with one. I was enjoying being alone though, so I grunted at the fingers, making them and the bills disappear.
The slit in the "buddy booth" stall that you can wave to your buddy through. "Hey buddy!"
The downfall of DVD Depot is they only have shitty little cafeteria chairs in their booths and there is no room to move around in there. On the edge of your seat (how you sometimes get), your knees are basically up against the wall. The gay stuff is upstairs this time, but there is gay stuff everywhere on the first floor too.
3 out of 5 chubbies
PLAYPEN, 45th and 8th
Playpen offers 100 seconds for your dollar, 10 booths, and 1000 titles of sweet, sweet pornography. Though their films are shown in HD (which to them I think means just cranking up the contrast really high), their booths are small with the same shitty chairs as the buddy booth place. There is also a huge gap, like a foot tall, at the bottom of the booth divider. Looking down for a second, I was fortunate enough to see the twitching Tretorns (had no idea they still made those) of the masturbating man next door. I was hardly impressed with Playpen's booths, so I moseyed around and went upstairs for the LIVE GIRLS. There were no LIVE GIRLS. There are booths with screens that open, but there were no girls on the other sides of those screens. I am pretty sure all of that activity takes place later on in the night.
2 out of 5 chubbies
SHOW WORLD, 44th and 8th
At just 25 cents a minute, Show World is the Daffy’s of jack shops. If you're looking to really relax and unwind from the day at a leisurely pace with your dick out, this is the spot. Unfortunately, I got an unfriendly vibe in here. Rather than lined-up in small corridors like all of the other booths, there is a large area with white-tiled floors onto which all of Show World's booth doors open. Nothing says, "I just now jacked off" like opening the door of your porn booth and stepping back into the store where everyone can see. There were two older Middle Eastern men (basically glorified moppers) proudly counting out stacks of money on the tables by the booths (all singles). The sign says that each booth offers 500 films, but I could only access around 80 of them. There was no adjusting the volume, and it was turned up so loud that everyone in the theater district is immediately notified about how you like it when a man screams, "Call me a faggot!" I recorded the sounds with my phone:
So eff this place, basically, unless you're super-poor. Also, when I left, some guy out front (seen in the image above) got really pushy about the girls he had for me "down the street." I was all, "Bad strategy, man. You should have got me before I went in when I still had come in my balls."
1 out of 5 chubbies
All in all, I had a nice time visiting the porn booths of 8th Avenue. It's a bit of a time machine back to old New York around there, and more than once I was reminded of one of my favorite books, Sam Lipsyte's Venus Drive. As a reviewer, I have to admit that ALL of the places were exquisitely clean. There was a dude mopping out the stalls at all four places when I visited. That intense bleach smell can either be annoying or, if you breathe deeply a few times, a good source of sweet lightheadedness to add to the rush of your orgasm. It was both for me.
Here are some shots I took with my phone.
Apparently a very popular title, this was playing on like half the channels in my booth at Show World.
If you added up all the possible number combinations, you'd have like a million channels, but only a tenth of these buttons actually work. The joystick is a nice touch though.
All the classics at Playpen. Even Rocco, our editor-in-chief here at VICE, had his movie playing there.
When all was said and done I visited four jack off havens, but spent five dollars. The fifth one went to this guy standing outside of Playpen.