Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 8th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt February 8 - 2017
Playboy Club reopening
in New York City
NEW YORK---The tightly
corseted Playboy Bunnies, with
rabbit tails and ears, will soon
be back in business in New York
Three decades after the original
Playboy Club closed in Manhat-
tan, an apparent victim of chang-
ing American tastes and views on
women, a new one will debut later
this year in a hotel a few blocks
from Times Square.
The club on West 42nd Street
"will be one of the most chic and
sophisticated venues in the world,"
promises Playboy Enterprises
spokesman John Vlautin.
It will have a lounge, a restau-
rant, a game room and, of course,
the Bunnies, though with some
updates to the outfits. Other Play-
boy clubs are already operating
in London, the Vietnamese cap-
ital of Hanoi and several places
in India. Another is set to open
in the spring in Shanghai.
New York's club will be in the
Cachet Boutique New York Hotel,
replacing the gay-themed Out
Hotel, which closed last year.
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
The timing may be off, says
travel guidebook publisher Pauline
"Retro is in, but I'm not sure
this type of retro," she says.
"We live in this era when
thousands of women are gath-
ering in marches to protest. I'm
not sure the zeitgeist is right for
Industry observers said the key
to success is how the brand will
be presented to prospective guests.
Will it be seen as a luxurious
enclave, a nostalgic throwback,
or a place where "75-year-old
guys walk around in silk paja-
mas?" travel guru Peter Greenberg
"As a concept, Playboy has the
word anachronism written all over
it --- outdated, irrelevant --- so I
don't know what the cachet is
today," Greenberg says.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner
opened the first club in Chicago
in 1960. He quickly expanded the
operation to 30 clubs around the
A chance to leer at the Bunnies
wasn't the only attraction. The
clubs also featured top musicians
and other entertainers. New York's
version opened on East 59th Street
between Fifth and Madison ave-
nues in 1962.
The next year, feminist Gloria
Steinem worked as an undercov-
er Bunny and wrote an expose
for Show Magazine entitled "A
Among her revelations: The pay
was lousy, the male customers
propositioned the female staff,
and she was forced to get a gyne-
cological exam and take a test for
venereal disease before she was
Former Bunny Kathryn Leigh
Scott has fonder memories of the
New York club.
An acting student who lived on
her minimum-wage pay, plus gen-
erous tips, Scott was 19 when she
got the job.
"Yes, it was chauvinistic by
today's standards, but back then,
one felt protected and there were
stringent rules we used to laugh
"It was more paternalistic than
chauvinistic," says Scott, now a
Beverly Hills resident and actor
who starred in the cult television
classic "Dark Shadows."
She said she was never asked
to undergo a gynecological exam
and was "treated extremely well."
"It was an opportunity and it
was fun. You put your school
clothes in a locker and put on a
satin costume," she says.
Scott, 74, is the author of a
history of the Playboy club titled
"The Bunny Years," for which she
interviewed 300 former Bunnies.
The original clubs remained
popular and lucrative for years
before faltering in the 1980s.
"Bunnies Go From Risque to
Passe," read a Los Angeles Times
headline in 1986, the year the
club there closed as did the New
York one. The original clubs were
all defunct by 1991.
Changing mores have altered
Playboy magazine, too, lately. The
magazine, still sold in 23 coun-
tries, no longer allows full nudi-
ty in the U.S. edition, favoring
articles and images of broader
news interest. Cooper Hefner, the
25-year-old son of 90-year-old
Hugh, is now its chief creative
The luxury hotel housing the
New York club will have 107
rooms. The project is a partner-
ship between Playboy Enterpris-
es, Merchants Hospitality and
Cachet Hospitality Group. The
club is expected to open later this
year, the companies said. (AP)
In this 2010 file photo, waitresses pose inside the Playboy Club at the Sands Casino in Macau. The club closed
in 2013. Three decades after the original Playboy Club closed in Manhattan, a new club will debut later this
year in a hotel a few blocks from Times Square. AP PHOTO
The Bunnies are back in town:
DENVER---North Carolina wants
to know if marijuana could one day
replace tobacco as a cash crop. Lou-
isiana is wondering how pot holds
up in high humidity. And Washing-
ton state has questions about water
supplies for weed.
Colorado agriculture officials this
week briefed officials from about a
dozen states - some that have legal-
ized weed, others that joked their
states will legalize pot "when hell
freezes over" - on the basics of mar-
ijuana farming and swapped stories
about regulating a crop that the fed-
eral government still considers illegal.
The Colorado Department of Agri-
culture also is working on the world's
first government-produced guidelines
on growing marijuana. There's no
shortage of how-to books catering
to pot growers both in and out of
the black market, but Colorado's
forthcoming guidebook aims to apply
established agronomy practices to
the production of marijuana.
"When you start with no knowl-
edge at all, it's rough," said Mitch
Yergert, head of Colorado's Division
of Plant Industry, an agency within
the Agriculture Department that reg-
ulates marijuana production.
Yergert conceded that Colorado
agriculture officials ignored marijua-
na entirely for more than a dozen
years, from the time voters in the
state approved medical pot in 2000
until recreational pot shops started
opening in 2014.
"Nobody in our agency ever grew
marijuana, so how are we supposed
to develop best practices?" Yergert
said. But marijuana's commercial
popularity, coupled with increasing
concern over pesticides and unsafe
growing conditions, forced the
department to stop considering mar-
ijuana a running joke and start see-
ing it as a commercial crop in need
of regulation. Colorado sold about a
billion dollars' worth of marijuana
last year, making it a cash crop, the
same as many others.
Now, the agriculture department
is sharing what it has learned about
weed with other agencies.
Speaking at a recent soil-conser-
vation conference in Denver, Yergert
briefed other state agriculture officials
on how to inspect marijuana and
hemp growers, and just as important,
how to regulate a plant that's illegal
under federal law.
"You kinda gotta get your mind
around it," Yergert said.
The visiting agriculture officials
toured a large Denver pot-growing
warehouse, where a grower showed
them the plant's entire cycle, start-
ing as clones in one room before
getting transplanted to bigger tubs.
The grower, Tim Cullen, also showed
the officials how the plant is trimmed
and its psychoactive buds dried for
smoking. Finally, the farm regulators
saw how marijuana waste - errant
leaves and such - are rendered unus-
able before being thrown away.
"This is blowing my mind right
now," said Erica Pangelinan of the
Northern Guam Soil and Water Con-
servation District. Pangelinan was
using her cellphone to snap photos
of wooden frames used to hold dry-
Guam allows medical marijuana,
but many states on the tour don't.
Still, the visiting agriculture officials
say they need to be prepared in case
laws change to allow pot-growing at
"We're just looking to see what's
ahead," said Pat Harris, director of
North Carolina's Division of Soil &
Some states on the tour plan to
grow pot themselves.
"We're getting in the marijuana
business in Louisiana, so we need to
know what we're doing," said Brad
Spicer of the state's Office of Soil &
Water Conservation, where the Leg-
islature has authorized two univer-
sities to grow the plant for medical
use and research.
Yergert warned the agriculture
officials that regulating weed still
isn't easy and that they should be
prepared for pushback from their
"Our guys were saying, 'I can't
pick my kids up from school because
I smell like pot,'" Yergert said.
Another problem? Stony silence
from federal agencies that agriculture
offices usually turn to for help.
"It hasn't gotten a lot more warm
and fuzzy," Yergert said. "I think they
look at us as, 'What an annoyance!'
I mean, they deal with drug smugglers
and international cartels, and here's
the Colorado Department of Ag com-
ing wanting a permit for something."
Cullen, the pot grower, urged the
agriculture officials to look past the
hurdles and see pot growers as farm-
ers thirsty for guidance on growing
healthy, profitable crops. (AP)
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