1970s New York was messy, smelly, worn-out and stale. Plenty has been written (and much of it romanticized) about 70s New York, so what else is there to say? Well, watch the above commercial for ‘Plato’s Retreat’, a sex club that was located in the Ansonia Hotel on Broadway and 73rd Street. The ad was aired on Manhattan Cable TV, a low-budget, low-rent, low-quality Public Access channel that I have fond-ish memories of. (We moved back to NY in 1980 and, aged sixteen, I was astonished to find what you could watch after 11Pm or so on this thoroughly disreputable–and thus not-to-be-turned-off– channel).  I recall the ‘Plato’s Retreat’ ad being something of a puzzlement to me–I wasn’t sure what ‘free-thinking’ adults really were and the pool that they advertised seemed unappetizing to say the least. Indeed, watching this ad today provokes real nausea–you can practically feel the STD’s crawling up your legs from the stained and sticky floor. AIDS could only have received a major boost thanks to the presence of this place and the awful and incessant disco beat was the most tasteful and restrained thing about it. More Manhattan Cable to come…so to speak…

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