Naughty, naughty! Babeland has given Park Slope a rise

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Build it and, apparently, they will come.

The owners of Babeland, the most-discreet, most-mature sex-toy shop imaginable, are celebrating their first anniversary this Sunday with a bang — a just-released report that the tiny Bergen Street location sold 16,389 items in its first 12 months.

That’s 16,389 vibrators, dildos, Rabbit Habits, We Vibes, ribbed condoms and tubes of BabeLube, among other things — and batteries are not included in that earth-shaking total, either.

And the customers were not making their purchases from an anonymous online shopping cart. Owner Clare Cavanah said that 15,000 people came, saw, bought and came again.

She credits her product line — “Vibrators give women orgasms, so there’s a good market for them,” she said — and the economy.

“Our sales went up every month of the year,” she said. “It’s because people were stressed out and looking for intimacy and comfort. Dinner and a show is more expensive than a vibrator.”

That, of course, depends on the vibrator. Even though times are tough, Cavanah said her high-end thrill machines — like the rechargeable Gigi vibrator ($109), with its seven customizable settings — are selling better than one-speed, battery-powered models.

“People want something a little elegant,” she said. “It’s like a nice pair of shoes. You put them on and you say, ‘This makes me feel good.’ With a fancy vibrator, they say, ‘This is how I feel about my sexuality.’”

Even more important than which model you prefer, is the larger role that Cavanah has played in bringing sex toys out of the back room and allowed people to let them live up to their fun-sounding names (if you have to ask what “the Fleshlight” is, you don’t deserve a store like Babeland).

The Brooklyn shop, one of three in the city, is done up like a GAP store or a Banana Republic (except many of the items are actually shaped like bananas). The only shame Cavanah’s customers feel is when they forget to pick up some batteries with their Hummingbird slimline.

“Sex is supposed to be fun,” she reminded, as she fondled (seriously) a We Vibe, a multi-purpose, wearable vibrator that has a number of unique features that I’d love to describe, but we’re a family newspaper, not a family planning newspaper.

Before it opened last June, the store aroused a modicum of concern from the forces of repression, who suggested that a sex toy shop might not be welcome in such a family-friendly neighborhood as Park Slope.

But in the end, Cavanah aroused only arousal. Besides, where do you think families come from in the first place?

“Once you eliminate the stigma, people see how turned on they can get,” she said. “We have European tourists — the French, believe it or not! — who come in and say that they wish they had stores like this back home.” The French? The people who invite mistresses to their wives’ funerals? Those French? I thought they gave out vibrators to every child on her eighth birthday (apparently not, Cavanah said).

Having taken the economy for a nice ride, Babeland is now turning its attention to that most-sought-after thrill: the green orgasm.

Coming soon is the Earth Angel vibrator — a model that vibrates for one hour after just four minutes of hand-cranking.

“It’s great in a blackout,” said Babeland marketing guru Pamela Doan. “I mean, the power could be out for a week and you could run out of batteries, but this will keep on chugging.”

The success of the Earth Angel will prove once and for all that you can go a few days without a hot meal, but you can’t go a few hours without a hot, well, you know.

Gersh Kuntzman is the Editor of The Brooklyn Paper. E-mail Gersh at

Babeland [462 Bergen St., between Fifth and Flatbush avenues in Park Slope, (718) 638-3820] will mark its one-year anniversary on Sunday, June 7 at noon with 15-percent discounts.

Updated 5:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Pacholo from Red Hook says:
This place really hits the spot.
June 3, 2009, 11:28 pm
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
It's good to know that "Owner Clare Cavanah said that 15,000 people came." I wonder if the purple device she is holding sped things.
June 4, 2009, 12:27 am
Leon Freilich from Park Slope says:
[The Earth Angel vibrator — a model that vibrates for one hour after just four minutes of hand-cranking.]

The hand-charged state-of-the-art vibrator

Comes with the promise of a story

That's sure to please Ms. Masturbator--

And sounds like familiar territory.

June 6, 2009, 2:49 pm

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