Tin Pan Alley Could Be Leveled

From the 1880s until the 1950s, Manhattan’s West 28th Street was home to Tin Pan Alley, a row of four-story brownstones that housed songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, George M. Cohan and Hoagy Carmichael.

From the 1880s until the 1950s, Manhattan’s West 28th Street was home to Tin Pan Alley, a row of four-story brownstones that housed songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, George M. Cohan and Hoagy Carmichael. On October 9, current owners announced that these once famous buildings were now for sale. The old buildings, no longer the site of busy songwriters, currently house an eclectic mix of wholesale establishments with apartments overhead. Asking $44 million for the entire property, property owners hoped that any purchaser of the property would demolish the old brownstones and replace them with a high-rise condominium project, similar to other near-by revitalization developments. Due to the economic crises and future uncertainty, this plan has fallen through. A group is now organizing to stop this recent threat, and prevent any future development of the Tin Pan Alley district from occurring.

According to the group’s leader, Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, “The fear of these buildings being sold for development crystallized their importance, and the need to preserve them.” Bankoff is hoping to secure landmark status for the buildings, which would prevent future destruction of the site.

There is no date set for a decision, but New York’s Landmark Preservation Commission is currently in the process of “researching the history of the buildings and reviewing whether they’d be eligible for landmark designation,” according to spokesperson Lisi de Bourbon.


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