1970s Eighth Avenue: the “Minnesota Strip”

“Minnesota Strip” could describe Eighth Avenue between 42nd and 50th Streets today, with so many midwestern-looking tourists ambling between hotels like the Milford Plaza and nearby Broadway theaters.

TimessquarehookersBut the nickname has a seedier origin. It was coined by cops in the 1970s because a huge proportion of the prostitutes who worked that stretch of Eighth Avenue were teenage runaways from Minnesota.

A November 28, 1977 Time article reported this:

“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.”

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19 Responses to “1970s Eighth Avenue: the “Minnesota Strip””

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    At the time a few girls took me to a hotel on 40th Street off 8th Avenue, not exactly on the Minnesota Strip but the sex with a teenager, which I was at the time too, was spectacular!

  2. Nabe News: September 21 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    [...] history of “Minnesota Strip,” the stretch of Eighth Avenue between 42nd and 50th Streets.  Back in the 1970s the area was [...]

  3. Ducky Says:

    I actually was from Minnesota and I worked at Show World. And truth be told, 99.9% of the women on 8th were not from Minnesota. Minneapolis Police Department sent a task force at one point to seek out runaways from the state. Low and behold they found not one woman/girl from Minnesota. Prostitutes from the area had just taken to using Minnesota as their faux home state as part of their persona. When someone asked a girl where she was from they automatically shot back, “Minnesota.” Just one more way a prostitute could create a barrier between her actual self/name/history and the streets.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    They sure fooled the police! And the media too.

  5. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    It still was a great place to get a girl for ten bucks, hotel was about four fifty, not bad.

  6. NYCDreamin Says:

    Check out the song “Minnesota Strip” by the Dictators. This version is by the Nomads with Handsome Dick Manitoba on vocals…good stuff.

  7. Sean Says:

    Nowadays all the newbie youth are claimed to be from Ohio.

    Wha’ happened?

  8. Barbara Amaya Says:

    I actually worked that area back in the 70’s and am alive to tell about it…I havent been back to New York since the early 80’s. People tell me I should write about it and I have started to.

  9. Miquel Says:

    I was a hard line street person, the teenagers then was plentiful. What is desired now was readily availble the honey and wheat look.

    One would wonder how many bodies is hidden there over the 2 decades of wild times.

  10. Worldwide Plaza, all business in a scruffy neighborhood - The Bowery Boys Says:

    […] was particularly known as a harbor for prostitution in the 1960s and 70s, sometimes known as the ‘Minnesota Strip’, an unfortunate nickname gleaned from the supposed Midwestern origins of many of the avenue’s […]

  11. A serial killer stalks Times Square in the 1970s | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] The similarities between the three crime scenes led law enforcement to dub the killer the “Times Square Ripper,” a man who apparently targeted vulnerable sex workers in an area so sleazy, a stretch of it was dubbed  “The Minnesota Strip” for all the teenage runaways from Middle America who ended up the…. […]

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