A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 14, 2007
Minnesota Strip (Eighth Avenue, near Port Authority Bus Terminal)

In the 1960s and 1970s, the area of Eighth Avenue between the Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd Street) and 59th Street became overrun with teenage prostitutes from the Midwest and was dubbed the “Minnesota Strip” (first cited in 1975). Minnesota had passed tough anti-prostitution laws, and girls from the Twin Cities came to New York.

In the 1990s, a massive development of Times Square began, making the area attractive for businesses and tourists. The term “Minnesota Strip” is largely of historical interest today.

Forgotten NY
Porn Under a Bad Sign
The Cameo was located down-and-dirty right on what was known in the mid-1970s as the “Minnesota strip.” The boulevards of sexual and financial needs collided here, attracting underage runaways like moths to a flame. It was a block so deep-fried in its own gristle that it was held up nationwide as a pinnacle of American degeneracy, a sexual Bermuda triangle where porn, exploitation filmmaking, and prostitution were likned together. It was a point of infamy in American archeology. 

16 November 1975, New York (NY) Times, pg. 273:
Little ladies of the night
Today’s runaway is no Norman Rockwell tyke. Instead, she may well be a 14-year-old in hot pants on New York’s Minnesota Strip.
By Ted Morgan
In the muster room, they noticed a group of young women who had been picked up by a Prostitution Control Unit sweep on a section of Eighth Avenue that has become known to police as “the Minnesota Strip.” Ever since Minnesota passed a law making a second offense punishable by a mandatory 90-day sentence, substantial numbers of that state’s prostitutes have migrated to New York’s more hospitable climate.

19 December 1975, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “N.Y.C. Trying to Clean Up Times Square: Crackdown on Prostitutes, Derelicts Due to Democratic Convention” by William Claiborne (Washington Post), pg. J6, col. 2:
The area (Manhattan’s Eighth Avenue, between 41st and 43rd Streets—ed.) is also known to police as the “Minnesota Strip,” because so many prostitutes from Minnesota migrated to New York after that state passed a law making a second prostitution offense punishable by a mandatory 90-day jail term.

15 February 1976, Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown, PA), Tune-In tv section, pg. 8, col. 5:
TOMORROW Host: Tom Snyder. Program will focus on New York’s notorious “Minnesota Strip,” the area on Eighth Ave. between 40th and 50th sts., where teen-age prostitutes, mostly from Midwest, congregate.

13 July 1976, Times Herald Record (Middletown, NY), pg. 7, cols. 1-2:
The so-called “Minnesota Strip”—a stretch of 8th Avenue between 42nd and 52nd Streets—was barren of hookers, pimps and convention delegates.

An area of cheap bars, massage parlors, porno book stores, peep shows and hotels of questionable repute, the “Minnesota Strip” got its name from a reported influx of teenage prostitutes following passage of tough morals laws in the Midwest. 

11 November 1977, Yuma (AZ) Daily Sun, pg. 15, col. 1:
A large number of the girls wind up in the East, and especially New York City—so many in New York that the police there have nicknamed the stretch of Eighth Avenue between the Port Authority Bus Terminal and 59th Street “the Minnesota strip.”

Time magazine
Youth for Sale on the Streets
Monday, Nov. 28, 1977
Legislators also uncovered evidence of loose networks of pimps who recruit girls and boys in various cities and move them from area to area in a nationwide circuit to keep a step ahead of police. The youngsters often end up in New York. The most sensational special link the committee found was the “Minneapolis connection,” in which young girls from that city, itself a magnet for runaways from much of the upper Midwest, move into New York in such large numbers that a section of Manhattan’s Eighth Avenue has long been known as “the Minnesota Strip.” Minneapolis police claim that up to 400 juveniles a year from the area are lost to other cities, with most of the youths winding up in prostitution in New York. 

IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
Off the Minnesota Strip (1980)
1h 44min | Drama | TV Movie 5 May 1980
A teenage runaway attempts to readjust to home and family life in Minnesota after returning home after years of working on the streets of New York City as a hooker and tries desperately to regain her parents’ understanding and love.
- Written by Matt Patay

New York Times
A Seedy Strip Slowly Gives Way To Assaults of the Squeaky Clean
Published: June 20, 1997
To some, it was the Wild Side, to others, Hell’s Bedroom. At a particularly low point in the 1970’s, it became the Minnesota Strip, a bleak reference to Midwestern girls who had hoped for careers on the Broadway stage, only to become Eighth Avenue street walkers.

Now, the notorious strip of the avenue running 10 blocks north of Manhattan’s Port Authority Bus Depot is coming out of the shadows. As the unprecedented transformation of Times Square spreads, Eighth Avenue has become its front line. Already, the same grim blocks that have been steeped for four decades in prostitution, drugs, homelessness and broken lives—and which still support the city’s biggest concentration of adult entertainment businesses—are attracting a small invasion of squeaky-clean, family-style restaurants, tourist shops and stylish apartment buildings.

Hell’s Kitchen
8th Ave in 40’s
Submitted by Anonymous Tipster on Thu, 04/05/2007 - 9:22pm.
Not sure about Chinatown but it was nicknamed “The Minnesota Strip” from the late 60’s to the early 90’s because supposedly prostitutes from Minnesota came to NY and settled on 8th Avenue to work. Generally the Minnesota Strip was known to run from about 42nd street to the high 40’s and sometimes into the low 50’s. It was a seedy place that was a meeting place for junkies, drunks, con artists, petty criminals, hustlers

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Friday, September 14, 2007 • Permalink