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.”

Tags: , , , , , ,

26 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.

    • Krensley Says:

      You worked at Show World? Write a book.

    • Thaddeus Buttmunch MD Says:

      WOW! I hope they treated you Right. I saw Show World as a Young John-lol, but I’m a BIG Tipper. I gave a United Airlines Flight Attendant a $100 Gift Card in flying in Business Class. She’s NO Spring Chicken-almost Seventy, but I really LIKE her. We got together in her hometown Out West this Month.

  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…. […]

  12. Worldwide Plaza, all business in a scruffy neighborhood - Bowery Boys: New York City History 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 […]

  13. Juventud a la venta. – Blog De Las Sombras. Mirror. Says:

    […] https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/1970s-eighth-avenue-the-minnesota-strip/ […]

  14. selena Says:

    was called the MN strip due to the girls mainly blonde/blue eyes midwestern types and of course w/BIG DADDY their black pimp.
    racist ? nope,just the facts.

    • Thaddeus Buttmunch, MD Says:

      Everybody should be watching “The Deuce” on HBO (or pirating it…Arrggggh-lol.) James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal are the stars. Emily Meade-who’s character, Lori has a Great supporting role, plays a Times Square prostitute from…Minnesota. She has/had a Mean Pimp. Her, Maggie’s character Eileen/”Candy” and others upgraded to early pornographic films, when they became legal. Other girls worked at Show World or the Massage Parlors. But-there was also a “Minnesota Pipeline” when girls on welfare in the Midwest were reportedly directed to Times Square.

  15. Stonya Ray Says:

    The kids started to run away during the sixties cuz of the news of the counterculture happenings. I continuously see people writing about muliple events that began in the sixties…stating that they happened in the 70s

  16. Raven Franti Says:

    Ive noticed a lot of things that started in the sixties are being ignored online and in books, and are being stated that those things started in the 70s. I’ve noticed that in your article here. The Minnesota strip Runaways started in the 60s as a result of the counterculture explosion of young people running away from home and wanting to explore & become part of what was going down in in Greenwich Village on the east coast and Haight-Ashbury on the West Coast. Fortunately for the kids that went West there was no Minnesota strip Pimps waiting for them. For the East Coast, many of those Runaways they would be stopped right there in Port Authority Bus Terminal by a pimp and unfortunately for them turn their psychedelic dreams into horror stories. And for some who did make it to the Village there was a particular Horror Story that happened that is referred to as The Groovy murders

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: