I am a little slow sometimes. Case in point: Late one Saturday night, John and I were exploring an old industrial neighborhood in Binghamton, sort of underneath the highway and adjacent to the train tracks (I know, we are soooo wild on the weekends). In the middle of a dark, abandoned-looking stretch of bad road, we came upon a dozen cars parked in the well-lighted lot of an establishment with a great sign, depicting a guy in an old "woody" car full of surfboards, bikini-clad girl in tow. "Papa Woody's" was the name of this funky new place, we learned.
"Imagine our luck!" I thought, convinced that we'd found a cool new restaurant or bar, undiscovered by our less-adventurous friends. John rolled up and I popped out of the car, to stick my head in: "I just want to check their menu and see if the food looks decent," I told John. No sooner had I closed the car door, than John figured it out, he told me later. Here's how I had to discover the secret:
I opened the door of Papa Woody's and was greeted by a blinding light. After a few seconds, my eyes adjusted enough to make out the figure of a woman below me to the right . . . a naked woman, that is . . . spinning on a pole. OOPS!
I did some digging (of COURSE!) and found out that this strip joint is located in what used to be a very popular and beloved furniture store called "Pa's Woodshed." Get it? "Pa's Woodshed" became "Papa Woody's"!! Bonus points for having a clever nexus between your legit-biz name and your hooker-joint name. (p.s. here are some reviews for the strip joint (Zagat's for nudie bars? who knew!), which has gone through several incarnations, none of them good, apparently.)
Turns out that Pa's Woodshed used to be a real landmark. On its rooftop (about where that janky old billboard now sits, decaying for travelers on both Interstates 81 and 88 to see) there use to be The World's Largest Chair! Yup, Pa's Woodshed had the World's Largest Chair- a nearly 25-foot-tall Ladderback one- according to the 1979 Guinness Book of World's Records. And there it sat for many years, becoming a local landmark. Not only was there a huge chair outside, but there was a huge overstuffed chair inside, too.
A little more online digging was worth the effort. Somebody actually made a video about the rotted leftovers of Pa's Woodshed, apparently before it became a strip joint. (Yes, it is a bummer how this area has decayed.)
Youtube coughed up the greatest gift EVER, though, when I came across some vintage (early 1980s) Pa's Woodshed commercials -Hobo Agamemnon J. Bonaparte, hobo housekeeping, one that shows the giant chair at the end, one called Hobo Teaser, and the ever-popular Hobo's Return(1990). Their marketing mascot was a HOBO? are you joking me???