Shake Shack To Bring A Different Kind of Special Sauce To Former Times Square Porn Palace

by BILLY GRAY · December 17, 2009

The perpetually depressing Jeremiah's Vanishing New York brings news that Shake Shack's expansion plans includes a location in the old smut mecca, the Playpen...

The Playpen building was erected in 1916 as a vaudeville theater, before falling into disrepute during Times Square's bygone Taxi Driver era. Despite its architectural significance, the original structure was demolished back in 2007. But its old address will now belong to Danny Meyer's latest bid for world domination.

And Jeremiah is not too happy about it. Says my favorite curmudgeonly blogger of the development:

"I thought about how the city used to be big enough to contain things like goddess-filled vaudeville houses where live nude girls and novelties could co-exist. What will come to the Playpen's old spot will be a chain restaurant, an upscaled McDonald's where people will stand in long lines for the privilege of purchasing a hamburger. When did the city get so small?"

Cheer up, Jeremiah. Having had the dubious distinction of once living and working in the Garment District, I can let you in on the dirty little secret that the red light district of the old Times Square didn't vanish altogether, but merely migrated a few blocks below 42nd Street on 8th Avenue.

As for the Playpen becoming a Shake Shack, well, at least buns remain on the menu.

(Photos Courtesy of Jeremiah's Vanishing New York)