Historical Note

New York's Hellfire club opened in the underground chambers of the Triangle Building at 28 9th Avenue in 1978. It quickly became famous for its pan-sexual, fetish oriented clientele and featured all manner of chambers, grottos, cages, racks, "glory holes" for anonymous fellatio, every conceivable implement of torture and restraint, and even an old claw-foot bathtub for "golden showers.". In its heyday, just about anything was permitted, just about anything was possible and just about everything happened.

However, it was closed in 1985 at the height of the AIDS epidemic and remained closed until 1993 when it re-opened under new health department "rules" which mostly proscribed sex and any exchange of body fluids. Sadly, twelve years later, with the gentrification of the neighborhood, its lease was terminated and its vaults were subsequently occupied by a series of trendy restaurants. Founder and owner, Lenny Waller, tried to re-create the club at a warehouse in Brooklyn but it was never the same and didn't catch on.

Over the years of its operation, the club served as a location for many photo shoots and several films. For these occasions, the club was closed to the public and populated only by professional actors and models. During actual operation, photography of any sort was completely and totally forbidden.

The only known exception came on Monday, March 10, 2001. As a concession to his friend, filmmaker R. C. Hörsch, who claimed to be too poor to hire actors and extras, Lenny placarded the club and, for a period of several hours, required everyone entering to agree to be photographed in Hörsch's film which was to be entitled, "Slaves."

The following is probably the only footage ever shot with real customers while the club was open and in operation.

(Those with a good eye might also notice that, for those few hours only, the club reverted to its old rules where anything was permitted.)




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