Schenectady ‘Embraces’ New Plan for Old Ground Round Site
By Leslie Carp
Published May 29th, 2016
(left) Photo of the old Ground Round building on Route 7 in Schenectady / (right) Though they're
often confused with mass suicides, typical "cuddle parties" usually consist of a pile of live
people spooning eachother with their pants on.
SCHENECTADY — A local entrepreneur has exciting and controversial plans for the vacant Ground Round site at the confluence of State Street and Route 7.
Shlo Mo, née Shlomo Weisswurst, will transform the former home of baseball helmet ice cream sundaes into The Loving Embrace, the Capital Region's very first cuddle café – a relatively new business model in which customers can rent private space to snuggle, nuzzle and squeeze one another while they digest after a heavy meal.
“I think we’re hitting a much-needed niche market here,” said Mo, who came to Schenectady from Hudson after moving to Hudson after being priced out of Brooklyn, where he was a transplant originally from Scotia. “Schenectady’s entire restaurant scene is based around red-sauce Italian and all-you-can-eat buffets. No one is going home to make love right after dinner – but they probably still want to cuddle.”
Customers at The Loving Embrace can rent one of 12 private cuddling booths, with clever names such as “The Nest,” “Snuggle Space Nine,” and “Oodles of Canoodles.” Each booth will be outfitted with necessities ranging from Prilosec OTC to soft blankets and waist extenders. The king-sized, bariatric beds are angled at an incline engineered to minimize acid reflux.
Mo, 43, was inspired to create The Loving Embrace after patronizing a cuddle café in Tokyo, where he cuddled several Japanese women ranging from age 15-24. He worked closely with several of Brooklyn’s best-known innovators in the cuddle industry, including Cuddler.com, Cuddle Fiesta, and Cuddle Me Tender.
In addition to the usual post-lunch and post-dinner hours, Mo is also planning a “Second Summer of Love and Cuddles” party series featuring black-light lamps, trance music, and edible pacifiers.
Fern Fiddlehead, a dreadlocked millennial, thinks The Loving Embrace will build community. "People around here are so, like, psychically constipated," she said. "Cuddling is a great healing tool that will clean them out."
Not everyone is as excited for The Loving Embrace as Fiddlehead. The Niskayuna community organization Protect Children from Pot (PCP) is concerned things could get seedy.
A spokesman for PCP said: “PCP is deeply concerned that cuddling could escalate to necking – or worse."