Saturday, November 8, 2008

Save Tin Pan Alley

American popular music was largely born in New York City, and the heart of it was Tin Pan Alley. According to Wikipedia, it was located between 5th Avenue and Broadway and wasn't really an "alley" but five old buildings located at 47-49-51-53-55 West 28th Street. It was the first site for the Music Publishers Association of the United States, founded in 1885.

Some of the most beloved old American songs were composed there, including "The Sidewalks of New York" by Lawlor and Blake, "Give My Regards to Broadway" by George M Cohan, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" by Albert Von Tilzer, "Swanee" by George Gershwin, and "God Bless America" by Irving Berlin (amongst many others).

And now Tin Pan Alley is threatened. These buildings have been up for sale since September (price tag: $44 million) and the plan is to turn it into a luxury high-rise. You can check out the LoopNet listing here.

The great blog Lost City was already writing about this a month ago and has been advocating for city landmark status. Although the lousy economy has made the construction plans fall through, these buildings are still on the market. Fortunately there is a group of committed New Yorkers trying to save historic Tin Pan Alley. I hope and pray they succeed and plan to join this cause. Our city's history is not just in books or on TV -- it's literally in our streets and neighborhoods and is too precious to lose.


  1. The breadth of topics you cover is amazing!

    I remember reading George Gershwin's biography as a kid and being inspired enough to ask for piano lessons... This is truly sad news.

  2. As always, you're much too kind! Let's hope TPA gets landmarked and restored.

  3. Tin Pan Alley's come and see what Paul Dresser has to say.


Please keep it civil, intelligent, and expletive-free. Otherwise, opine away.