Drew Park

Chris Rock started out his Performing Arts Center show this summer by remarking about Tampa being “the strip club capital of the world.” (Word is, he was spotted at 2001 Odyssey later than night.) Rock sold us short: Tampa’s not just a hub of tittie bars ; the real action happens a few blocks over in the mostly industrial section of Drew Park. A plethora of adult businesses dot the grid — with names like Playhouse Theater, Platinum Showgirls, Miss Behavin, Fantasy Land, Xposed — ranging from skin-flick theaters to paraphernalia stores. All kinds of shenanigans have gone on in Drew Park for years: daisy chains, circle jerks, and other variations on public sex (we’ve heard about this anecdotally, we swear). In May and June, Tampa Police set up sting operations, which netted several dozen arrests for public masturbation, and included a couple of high-profile offenders (criminal defense attorney Victor Martinez and now-former general manager of Ch. 13, Robert Linger – see People & Politics). Defendants and sex-trade backers claim entrapment, of course. Police deny it, of course. A few sex businesses have closed as a result. So what does the future hold for Drew Park? Will the busts act as a deterrent? Or will it maintain its glory as Tampa’s jerk-off central?

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