If all goes according to plan, a herd of bunnies is set to take over Time Square later this year.
No, we’re not talking about flopsy bunny rabbits, we mean the more … voluptuous kind.
After closing its New York location in 1986, the Playboy Club will reopen later this year on West 42nd Street, The Associated Press reported.
The club “will be one of the most chic and sophisticated venues in the world,” John Vlautin, spokesman for Playboy Enterprises, said.
The club will be housed in the 107-room Cachet Boutique New York Hotel at the site of the former Out Hotel, which closed last year. It will feature a lounge, restaurant, game room and Bunnies, of course, who will reportedly wear an updated version of their “bunny suit,” a corset, bunny ears, bow-tie collar, cuffs and fluffy white tail.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner opened the first of 30 Playboy Clubs in Chicago in 1960. New York’s club opened two years later. After going defunct in 1991, the clubs first resurfaced in London in 2011, followed by several locations in India and one in Hanoi, Vietnam. A new one is slated to open in Shanghai this spring.
While the clubs may harken back to an era glamorized by “Mad Men,” it may be an unwelcome and objectifying nostalgia among many women living in President Donald Trump’s America.
“Retro is in, but I’m not sure this type of retro,” Pauline Frommer, publisher of Frommer’s travel guidebooks, told the AP. “We live in this era when thousands of women are gathering in marches to protest. I’m not sure the zeitgeist is right for Playboy now.”
Travel journalist Peter Greenberg agrees.
“The only way you could actually do this is, don’t call it a new club; call it a museum and display the artifacts and Bunny outfits!” he said. “There’s only one option: If they do it with a wink, a nod and a joke, and you go there to laugh.”
Former Bunny Kathryn Leigh Scott, who started working at the New York club as a 19-year-old acting student, concedes that the clubs were “chauvinistic by today’s standards,” but “one felt protected … It was more paternalistic than chauvinistic.”
Scott, who later appeared on “Dark Shadows,” also wrote a history of the Playboy Club called “The Bunny Years” in 2011, in which she interviewed 300 former Bunnies.
No opening date has been confirmed, but Playboy Enterprises, Merchants Hospitality and Cachet Hospitality Group, who partnered on the hotel and club project, expects the first set of ears to be donned sometime later this year.