Somewhere, Bruce Benderson is weeping and Rudy Giuliani is laughing. Bare Elegance, which was the very last pocket of depravity left in Times Square (unless you count Flashdancers, which is more of a flashy tourist trap) has finally, inevitably shuttered. Reportorial duties took us into the hilariously named Mixed Emotions porn shop (which shares an address with the go-go bar), and an employee told us it has been closed since late February. “Business wasn’t so good,” he explained, though it seemed like there was more to it. A Department of Buildings document shows that, in investigating a complaint that Bare Elegance was less than 500 feet away from the Times Square Church, either the DOB or the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement determined there was a “failure to conform to adult establishment requirements.” A violation was served in January. It’s uncertain whether that was the death blow, but either way, you can cross another one off the list of “strip clubs under fire.”
Actually, as a Gridskipper investigation in 2007 made clear, the second-floor establishment was less of a strip club and more of a dark, musty hole where the “live models” were no-nonsense about doing things to you that most religions demand a marriage license for. One part of Bare Elegance’s name was accurate: It was one of the city’s few remaining all-nude establishments, so no booze was served at the lonely bar in the back, and hanging out by the pool table wasn’t exactly smiled upon. More than once we’ve made it a point to pass by its marquee in order to reassure ourselves that the old Deuce wasn’t completely lost to your Bubba Gumps and T.G.I. Fridays — it was merely on life support. Well, the plug has finally been pulled.
Of course, everything changes in New York; 216 West 50th Street was once the address of the famous Beefsteak Charlie’s.