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Playboy to Take Over Former NYC Gay Nightclub Space

Monday Feb 13, 2017

The times they are a changing.

A former Gotham gay nightclub is trading beefcake for bunny ears.

After a three decade absence from the Big Apple, Playboy Enterprises will open a New York location at 510 West 42nd Street in what was the former XL (later BPM) nightclub at the no-longer-gay Out (now Cachet) Hotel.

The Associated Press reports Playboy Enterprises spokesman John Vlautin promised the new club "will be one of the most chic and sophisticated venues in the world."

The new spot will have a lounge, a restaurant and game room. And replacing go-go boys will be Bunnies in their iconic updated outfits. Other Playboy clubs are already operating in London, Hanoi and several locations in India. Another is set to open in the spring in Shanghai.

If the club opens as scheduled, it will be in a city that began the year with hundreds of thousands of women taking to the streets to protest the presidency of Donald Trump, in part because of remarks he made that were perceived as chauvinistic.

The New York Playboy Club will occupy a space that is already no stranger to controversy. The nightclub and attached hotel were the target of a boycott by the LGBT community in 2015 due to its gay partners Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass' hosting of anti-LGBT presidential hopeful Ted Cruz at a quasi-fund raising event held at their Central Park South penthouse apartment.

Prior to that, the owners were the subject of a scandal when a 23-year-old bartender from a nearby gay bar died of drug-related complications in their penthouse bathtub.

Reisner (who is a major partner in the commercial properties in Fire Island Pines) and Weiderpass sold the long-term lease on the space to Merchant Hospitality for $40 million in 2016.

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