The paper is down and the huge gaping windows reveal, what exactly? I went to meet the lovely Sid Azmi, owner of Please New York at the corner of 15th Street on #theother5th: a place to discover your sensuality.
The store isn't what you would expect inside. There are, of course many products, from media materials, to toys, lingerie and body products. There are books about talking to your children about sex and naturally some funny ones too. The staff seem warm and welcoming, but the room is chic, clean and inviting too.
With light pouring in and the windows wide and open to the world, many have asked why this "novelty store" doesn't have curtains and blinds to shield those inside from the embarrassment of going in, and even staying! But when you meet Sid and listen to what she has to say, it's all so obvious. The open windows reflect her philosophy of being open to discussing issues of relationships and of sex. Sid tells me that her conservative upbringing is part of why she wanted to open this business, but after talking with her I think she really feels that there is an opportunity to engage the community conversations around themes regarding all aspects of sex and sexual behaviour.
Sid also works in the healthcare service, in radiotherapy, and sees men and women whom have undergone surgeries for breast and prostrate cancers. These patients are well and healthy but doctors don't talk to them about their feelings regarding their bodies and intimacy with their partner. So again, another reason for the store and business.
Ideally Sid would love you to just come in and see for yourself, that it is a place to explore. The staff are there to give advice and guide you through if you wish.
So what's ahead for Please? Sid would like to engage with the community and community groups. She is planning to be at the Fabulous Fifth Avenue Fair on May 17th and Brooklyn Pride Festival June 13th. Look out for events and workshops she will be hosting and may run a series of webinars which is a good alternative if you can't get to the store.
Please also has a blog.
Please New York
557 5th Avenue corner of 15th Street
Open Sun - Thurs 11am - 8pm
Fri and Sat 11am - 10pm