Richard Basciano (July 16, 1925 – May 1, 2017) was an American property developer active in New York City and Philadelphia.[1]

Basciano was born in 1925 in Baltimore, Maryland, where his father was a professional boxer.[2] In the 1960s, Basciano began selling pornography around New York in partnership with Gambino crime family mobster Robert DiBernardo.[2] In the 1970s and 1980s, Basciano's real estate empire was centered on the Show World Center, New York's largest and oldest sex emporium. He was dubbed the "porn king of Times Square" in press reports.[3] Perhaps his best-known property in Philadelphia was the Forum Theatre, an adult theatre.

In early June 2013, a building controlled by Basciano at 2136 Market Street in Philadelphia collapsed during demolition, killing six and injuring thirteen.[4] In early 2017, he was among those found to be liable for the disaster.[5]

By the mid-1990s, the adult entertainment industry was undergoing rapid change. Efforts by the city to sanitize Times Square compounded the widespread adoption of VCRs.[3] Operating through STB Investment Group and other firms, Basciano sold his properties as neighborhoods became gentrified.[1]

Basciano died on May 1, 2017, in New York City at the age of 91.[6]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Forum Theater almost completely razed; neighbors next in line, by Alex Rudinski, Philadelphia Real Estate Blog, 1 March 2013
  2. ^ a b Roberts, Sam (7 May 2017). "Richard Basciano, Times Square Pornography Magnate, Dies at 91". The New York Times. p. A28. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b The Fading Neon of Times Square's Sex Shops;Elusive, Undisputed King of Midtown Pornography May Be Forced Out of Business, by Dan Barry, New York Times, 28 October 1995
  4. ^ Building Collapse: Owner Is Richard “Porn King” Basciano, a Sam Rappaport Alum, by Liz Spikol,, 5 June 2013
  5. ^ Slobodzian, Joseph (31 January 2017). "All defendants found liable in deadly '13 Philly building collapse". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Richard Basciano, principal in deadly Center City building collapse, dies at 91". Archived from the original on 2017-05-07. Retrieved 2017-05-03.