Combat Zone

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The State Theatre, 1967
by Nick DeWolf

The Combat Zone was the name given in the 1960s to the adult entertainment district in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Centered on Washington Street between Boylston Street and Kneeland Street, the area was once the site of many strip clubs, peep shows, X-rated movie theaters, and adult bookstores. It had a reputation for crime, including prostitution.

In 1974, in an attempt to contain the spread of adult businesses, the Boston Redevelopment Authority officially designated the Combat Zone as the city's adult entertainment district. For a variety of reasons, such as rising property values and the introduction of home video technology, most of the adult businesses in the area have since closed, and the "Combat Zone" moniker has become obsolete.

By the 2010s, the area had become part of Chinatown and undergone extensive redevelopment. Between Boylston Street and Lagrange Street are several 2000s-era residential high-rise buildings. South of Lagrange Street are a wide variety of Asian cuisine restaurants (including Chinese, Malay, and Vietnamese) and small shops that occupy historic storefronts.


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