Scandal! Boobies, Butts on Court Street

While many folks here have voiced that they’re not offended by the “Aesthetic Crimes of Henry Street” some Brooklyn Heights residents are FREAKING OUT over “explicit” images on display at a Court Street newsstand:

NY Times Blogs: At Newsstands…: It was the kind of explicit image that used to be at home in adult bookstores or discreetly displayed at the newsstand so that buyers had to ask for it sotto voce. But there it was, brazenly hanging over the Juicy Fruit at a newsstand on Court Street, on the edge of Brooklyn Heights: an image of a woman showing off her bare backside as she wore just enough fabric to make a necktie….

…“Oh, we’ve had complaints,” said Irene Janner of the Brooklyn Heights Association. “But the problem with newsstands is that they have First Amendment protection about what they want to sell. One down on Court Street is pretty raunchy, but it’s on a commercial street and it’s not ours.

“But nobody in the city would want to take them on unless it’s really hard-core porn.” She added that the situation had existed so long at some Brooklyn newsstands that “people have just given up.”

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  • skunky

    don’t people see a pattern here? are we all so frakking uptight that we can’t see a bare ass?

    do you all of a sudden become a totally psychotic parent who wants to sugar-coat the world for your kid when you move to Brooklyn Heights?

  • my2cents

    Go to Europe. They have bare breasts all over their newsstands, and their society hasn’t collapsed…yet. People are so puritanical about nudity in our country for no good reason. I’d rather my kid see bare butts on the newsstand than all the violence in every other corner of our society.

  • evo

    Seriously…with everything going on in the world this is what people get passionate about? Really?

  • natalie

    I agree, before our trip to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, I brought my 15-year old to Brooklyn Heights to soak in the Old World ambiance and to look at the boobies and booties on the magazine racks. No, Brooklyn Heights isn’t in the EU officially, but it ain’t exactly USA all the way land, you know? .

  • Claude Scales

    Some of my British friends call it Kentish Town West.

  • T.T. Seer

    “The problem…is…the First Amendment”!?

    Maybe Irene Janner doesn’t like our freedoms, but I simply cherish them.

    Say, did she give an address for the “pretty raunchy” one down Court Street?

  • AEB

    St. Augustine said (not to ME, but…) that the high and low together is greater than the high alone.

    BH is in sore need of a little heterogeneity. I say, bring on the spice.

    Or just let it be.

  • my2cents

    anon, there are tons smutty man mags in the windows of Chelsea newsstands. So thankfully the first amendment protects it all.

  • In the Heights

    As a parent of young girls, it is pretty distressing to have to see women being objectified and sexualized in this manner on our neighborhood sidewalks. I don’t want to live in a puritanical society and I’m all for the first amendment, but when you’ve got little ones you want to protect their innocence for as long as you can.

  • Jazz

    …and that’s called “Iowa”.

  • Teddie Boy Eddie

    Actually, it sounds like you DO want to live in a puritanical society, In the Heights. It’s a bare ass, for f*ck’s sake.

    Better keep the innocents out of the museums as well. I hear there are statues with naked boobies there. Ask Ashcroft.

  • AEB

    Yes, In the Heights, please tell me exactly what is meant by “protecting their innocence.”

    What precisely are you trying to protect them from?


  • In The Heights

    I think comparing fine art to the covers of soft core porn is a bit of a stretch. What is wrong with you people??? I’ve got no problem with art or nudity at all, but the cover of “Big Ass Magazine” isn’t art people – are you kidding yourselves? Do you people have no sense at all! Kids are losing their virginity at 13 and the rates of teen STD’s is at all time high rates. Where do you think this comes from? Too much time at the Met? No, its from overexpsure to sexually explicit images that have somehow been made to be the norm in our society. God forbid if a parent wants to keep vulgar, sexually explicit images from their FIVE year olds when they are walking down the street in their neighborhood.

  • CJP

    Hmmmm. My two cents? I agree about offensive covers on magazines and no, I’m not talking about publications that show breasts and butts.

    I’m talking about gun magazines. Now that to me is really, really offensive. How about yanking gun magazines? If you want to spend your time getting worked up about explicit magazine covers start with the gun publications.

  • in the Heights

    I actually work for a gun violence prevention organization and I totally agree with you on that front too. My point is that childhood is soooo short. What is wrong with wanting to protect it?

  • bornhere

    I’m with In the Heights on this (although I don’t think that poster or anyone else is “FREAKING OUT”). I also think it is a lot easier — for young children and adults — to have a valuable discussion about the problems of violence and guns than it is to have a thoughtful discussion about porn. This is not about nudity, the beauty of the human form, etc; this is about, shall we say, “variations on a theme,” which variations are not necessarily a comfort-inducing visual even for some adults. And the argument that one should worry only about the ugliness of guns and not about the other kinds of ugliness is taking us back 30 years; we’ve had that discussion. Finding the objectification of women AND men less than uplifting does not preclude one’s abhorrence of violence. And sometimes it’s none too easy to differentiate between the two. I don’t think not being a proponent of human debasement in any form is a deep constitutional, artistic. or social argument. Really.

  • Claude Scales

    I’ve often said that I don’t have much patience with “slippery slope” arguments: so long as reasonable people like me get to draw the lines, everything will be OK. So, as enlightened philosopher-monarch, I’d gladly force Big Ass to be hidden behind brown paper, while ignoring the pleas of those who wish to ban Heather Has Two Mommies, or even Harry Potter, from school libraries. But, like the framers of the Bill of Rights, I lack faith in those elected to public office to make that distinction.

    For what it’s worth, I’m the dad of a just-turned fifteen year old daughter who has (touch wood) so far successfully navigated the rocks and shoals of what she and I both wish was a less coarse, overly sexualized popular culture.

  • etc

    Why is someone’s right to “protect” their children greater than my right to look at pictures of beautiful women? I am a straight woman who happens to find the human body beautiful and not something that needs to be hidden behind brown paper wrapping. If you are looking for a sterile world in which you can avoid exposing your children to anything controversial, I’d suggest Celebration, Florida and not Brooklyn, New York.

    And why is a comparison of nude statues of women to pictures of scantily clad women on magazine covers not an apt comparison? They both objectify women; they represent someone’s idealization of the “perfect” female form, irrespective of those women’s other attributes (intelligence, kindness, etc.). I think the fact that kids are losing their virginity at 13 and getting STD at a higher rate has less to do with the availability of graphic pictures of women, which have been around since the stone age, and more to do with the puritanical ideals of parents who are trying to “protect” their children by pretending that such objectification doesn’t otherwise exist rather than encouraging children to discuss matters regarding sex and gender roles openly. Why not use the magazines as an opportunity to talk to your kids about sex and STDs?

  • AEB

    So we find ourselves once again trying to distinguish porn (apparently bad for children and other living things) from nonporn.

    I don’t buy the objectification argument, either in the sense that those who model for more or less sexually explicit visual material are bring exploited (they signed up for the gig, didn’t they?), nor in the sense that an entire gender is being belittled by physical-display-for-profit, however vulgar (and we’d have to define that term, too).

    (I DO recognize, however, that in our culture women are, generally, more vulnerable to exploitation.)

    I’m not sure that a sexualized culture like ours–that is, one in which the competition to purvey sexual imagery for profit is highly…evolved–automatically results in unwanted pregnancy and STS’s, or significantly increases their possibility.

    In any case, I DON’T believe that censoring imagery is the way to go to try to prevent “bad consequences” of sexual contact.

    Rather, I think it’s the rsponsibility of parents–and, yes, schools–to provide sufficient education to kids to help prevent unwanted sexual-act sequelae.

    Perhaps part of the problem has to do with the way parents feel about their children having sexual lives. I’m talking about the inner conflict such a notion can stir, particularly in a culture as fundamentally puritanical as ours.

  • Rolf Krantz

    Whatever. I used to check out fronts and rears when I was 5. No biggie…