Remember this oldie and goodie? Billy’s Topless was yes, a topless bar on Sixth Avenue and 24th Street in operation from 1970 to 2001, it was for many years considered a neighborhood landmark until our good cleaner-upper arrived on the scene, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

From Billy’s Topless suffered, along with much of the city’s adult entertainment industry, under the quality of life directives of then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, who called New York’s adult establishments a threat to public “health, safety and welfare” and a “corrosive institution”. In his second term he aggressively targeted New York’s sex industry for “reconstruction”. Laws were enacted forbidding adult establishments from operating within 500 feet of a residence, school or place of worship, and the NYPD conducted raids on businesses that did not comply with the new ordinance.

The laws were initially drafted to target the sex businesses in the Times Square area, but small, local establishments like Billy’s were affected as well. The Chelsea community board (Manhattan Community Board 4) confirmed that there had never been a citizen complaint against either Billy’s Topless or its customers.

In 1998, to avoid being closed down by the first wave of new zoning laws, Billy’s took «topless» out of the bar’s name, and the place is rechristened “Billy Stopless” and dancers had to wear bikini tops. In the mid-1990s, dancers at Billy’s made $50 plus tips, which typically amounted to about $500 per night. After the change in policy to avoid the zoning laws, the bikini-clad dancers could expect to take home about $200. Patrons were quoted as saying, “You can see this on the beach for free. This is no fun.”

In the end, the zoning laws won out, and Billy’s Topless closed for good in 2001. The space is converted into a bagel shop.”