Sheila McClear


The Last of the Live Nude Girls

A Memoir

A “eye-opening, gritty, and compelling” memoir by one of New York City’s last Times Square peep show girls (The Paris Review Online).

In 2006, Gotham City Video was among the last of its kind where, breathing in a cocktail of Pine-Sol and Windex, a man paid $40 to watch a girl strip naked behind glass. These fantasy lands, left over from the days when 42nd Street was the center of vice, eventually disappeared from the rapidly gentrifying city, their stories lost forever. Not those of tenderloin grinder, Sheila McCelar. Pulling back the curtain on the little-documented world of the peeps, her “ribald . . . memorable and highly relevant” (The Daily Beast) reflection is “both a eulogy and a paean to the freaks and misfits who have long given their souls to the city” (Matthew Gallaway, author of The Metropolis Case).

A late bloomer from small-town Michigan, Sheila arrived in New York as a struggling actress and soon found herself adrift. Borderline homeless, and crashing with friends, she finally got steady work that paid the rent—as a stripper along the triple-x stretch of Eighth Avenue. When Times Square seeped into her blood, she ended up staying much longer than she imagined. The story she tells is not just of her own coming-of-age, it’s a “sharp, sweetly personal . . . fascinating and honest” narrative of modern life on the fringes of society in New York City (Mark Jacobson, author of Pale Horse Rider).