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PIX11 vault: Javits Center 1986 opening forces hookers out of the Theater District

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NEW YORK CITY (PIX11) -- The opening of the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan caused quite a stir for prostitutes who worked in the area in 1986.

Located in the Theater District on 36th Street and 11th Avenue, the Javits Center intruded on the turf of many hookers who were able to make up to $1,000 a night in the area.

“I hate it! It sucks because you can’t make no money here,” a hooker said.

Capt. Martin J. Cass, the precinct's commander, stationed more officers on foot and scooter patrol around the Javits Center. He also hoped the new crowds in the area would drive prostitutes away, the New York Times reported.

“The city has had a policy over the last 10 years of getting the prostitutes out of the Theater District and into areas where they cause the least problems for the people who live and work there,” an official said.

As police presence increased near the building, prostitutes were pushed south into the Warehouse District and east near Park Ave. South.

But the relocation of prostitutes did end up causing problems. Several hookers started spilling into residential areas near Madison and Fifth Avenues.

A woman who just moved into her 66 Madison apartment and paid $800 a month rent said she avoided looking into cars late at night due to the increase of hookers in the area.

“They’re like the mailmen. Rain, snow, the whole bit,” another displeased resident said.

Prostitutes who were tired of the police chase began working indoors, but others did not mind being arrested. Chronic offenders were given light sentences of one to two days in jail.

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