0 Love It
Save it

Great walks: Fifty Shades of Grey

E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy sparked curiosity in kinky sex, but we’ll school you on the real side of BDSM.

 (Photograph: Courtesy McNally Jackson)
Photograph: Courtesy McNally Jackson

McNally Jackson Books


Erotic boutique Kiki de Montparnasse

 (Photograph: Alex Strada)
Photograph: Alex Strada

Focaccino stuffed with Grand Cru chocolate and Ecuadorian banana at West Village gelateria Amorino

 (Photograph: Jolie Ruben)
Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Nipple clamps at fetish store Purple Passion

 (Photograph: Francine Daveta)
Photograph: Francine Daveta


 (Photograph: Kayla Rice)
Photograph: Kayla Rice

Babeland, Soho

 (Photograph: Francine Daveta)
Photograph: Francine Daveta

Lingerie shop Orchard Corset

Fifty Shades of Grey sparked curiosity in kinky sex, but it botched many BDSM basics. First-timers and fetishists can tap into NYC’s legit kink scene and go beyond vanilla antics at Purple Passion and Paddles.

RECOMMENDED: See all Great Walks

Start: 79 Greene St between Broome and Spring Sts
End: 250 W 26th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves
Time: 3 hours
Distance: 2.6 miles

View Larger Map


Though it’s filled with salacious prose, E.L. James’s novel has been widely criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of dominance and submission—not to mention questionable phrasing (does any woman actually refer to her “inner goddess” every other minute?). Pick up a more true-to-life tome at McNally Jackson Books (52 Prince St between Lafayette and Mulberry Sts). The indie retailer stocks genre classics, including Story of O by Pauline Réage ($10) and The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy ($14.95).


Continue your kink exploration at erotic boutique Kiki de Montparnasse (79 Greene St between Broome and Spring Sts; 212-965-8070, kikidm.com). The dimly lit shop stocks decadent fetish goods, including leather cuffs with silk ties ($175) and silver-tip riding crops ($195), as well as sexy but tasteful sleepwear, such as cotton-and-silk tanks with attached garters ($175). If you don’t have billionaire dom Christian Grey’s bank account, an array of lower-priced bath and body goods will allow you to take home a little bit of luxury; we like the massage candles ($45) and extra-lathering soap ($20).


Christian and sexual neophyte Anastasia bring their ice cream—vanilla, of course—to the bedroom. Whether or not you’re planning to mess up the sheets, head uptown for a refined take on the quintessential flavor, made with aromatic Madagascar bourbon vanilla, at West Village gelateria Amorino (60 University Pl at 10th St; 212-253-5599, amorino.com). The only thing that’ll be deflowered here is one of the signature rose-shaped scoops ($5.50-8:50), but that’s afternoon delight enough.


There’s no better place to find Christian’s favorite impact toys than 23-year-old fetish store Purple Passion (211 W 20th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves; 212-807-0486, purplepassion.com). Proprietor Hilton Flax and his knowledgeable staff will help you find everything from cotton rope (32-foot length $13) and bondage tape ($7.95 per roll) to leather paddles ($22-$48) and braided-handle floggers ($75–$195). Don’t leave without grabbing Ana’s kink item of choice: a pair of Ben Wa balls ($15–$58).


Now that you’re well-supplied and informed, get ready to experiment—or at least watch other people play—at Paddles (250 W 26th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves; paddlesnyc.com), the city’s longest-running BDSM club. The space is quite literally an underground dungeon, but the vibe is welcoming and laid-back. Owner Michael A. gives all neophytes a tour and sticks around during events to answer any questions. Find a partner to test one of four St. Andrew’s crosses, or chat up other kinksters at the alcohol-free bar (legally mandated because of the nudity), which serves cookies ($1 each) and soda ($2).

Also check out

Hit up the Soho location of sex-toy emporium Babeland (43 Mercer St between Broome and Grand Sts; 212-966-2120, babeland.com) for “Fifty Shades of Hot Sex” (Sun 15, July 22 at 7:30pm; sign up at fiftyshadesofhotsexsoho.eventbrite.com). In the two-hour workshop ($35), you’ll learn about bondage, sensation play and sexual communication.

No-frills lingerie shop Orchard Corset (157 Orchard St between Rivington and Stanton Sts; 212-674-0786, orchardcorset.com) may not look like much by way of decor, but you’ll know within the first five minutes that you’re in the right place for well-priced custom-made corsets ($49–$109). The salespeople can determine your bra size on the spot, and items go up to size 56M.