14 October 2008

A Spot Inspection of Tin Pan Alley

I went to the up-for-sale strip of former Tin Pan Alley buildings on W. 28th Street late last week to see if any architectural details remain denoting the structures' former functions as hives of musical invention.

Alas, nothing on the facades would give you any hints that the edifices once housed famous music publishing houses which introduced the world to the wonders of Berlin, Warren and Gershwin. The buildings are suitably old and many of the windows have old-style, wooden-framed panes. But there are no initials in any of the cornices that might belong to a formerly famous publisher, no faded, painted advertisements on a side wall.

The oldest-looking part of the buildings are perhaps the enterways at the top of the flights of stairs leading from the sidewalk. None of the addresses up for sale, aside from No. 47, appear to have modernized doorways. Just the old, huge, wooden kind. The paneling, transoms and details seem to be original. One can easily imagine a hungry songwriter passing through these portals a century ago, on his way upstairs to try and sell a new ditty to the big boss.


Anonymous said...

great old moldings , they give such class to ordinary thins

Christopher Browne said...

A little picture rests on the inside
of the gllass door at 45 west 28th street now of George Gerhswin with
a photo when that building was Jerome
Remick music publishers where George
got his start in show business.

a 1937 photo from the NYC tax base
archives of city property show us
how the neighborhood might have
looked like as tin pan alley at least
the front of the buildings.

It's been too quiet after the rush
of news of the JoFra reality sale.
Many of those that live on this
block are Xenophobic.
Some say "It's for the young to fight" thye are tired of the rumors
that have come up over the years as
to this blocks demise.
45 so far has not been listed by the Korean -American landlord who
lives of course in New Jersey.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

That's what happens with news cycles, but I will do my best to keep it in people's minds. I know that at least one person has alerted the Landmarks Commission. And I believe the Post may do a follow-up.