A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 25, 2006
Amen Corner
The "Amen Corner" was a place in the old Fifth Avenue Hotel, at Madison Square, where people would meet, agree on issues and all say "Amen." It was named in 1897 in honor of Thomas C. Platt, the "Easy Boss" who lived in the Fifth Avenue Hotel.

After the Fifth Avenue Hotel was destroyed in 1908, the "Amen Corner" moved breifly to the Hoffman House. The name "Amen Corner" is taken from London. The New York name was probably attributed by writer Edward Riggs on the New York Sun.


21 May 1836, The New-Yorker, pg. 136:
Paternoster Row of New-York. -- There is a street in London, between St. Pauls's Churchyard and Newgate street, called Paternoster Row, where the literateurs and those interested in such matters must do congregate. It is in the immediate vicinity of Ave-Mary Lane, Amen Corner, and Creed Alley; ...

25 April 1897, New York Times, pg. MS14:
THE family of Raines of Canandaigua must have had a natural liking for politics of the old school. Thomas, or, as he is still spoken of in Albany and in the "Amen corner" of the Fifth Avenue Hotel corridor, "Tom" Raines, was State Treasurer in the early seventies.

30 April 1897, New York Times, pg. 3:
Politicians once more sat in peace in the "Amen" corner at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and resumed their speculations.

6 December 1900, New York Times, pg. 3:
AMEN CORNER GREETS
THE GOVERNOR-ELECT
AMEN.
For the benefit of all concerned it is made known that the "Amen Corner" was so named because it is the gathering spot in the Fifth Avenue Hotel corridor of those who talk politics, music, religion, poetry, art, political economy, statesmanship, office seeking, foreign and domestic finance, international law, constitutional law, police court law, civil district law, the quality of cigars, the quality and effect of stimulants, club life, the idiosyncrasies of the Mugwump, Anarchists, Socialist, and Stagle Taxers, the latest fashion in clothes, the best kind of pipe to smoke, the latest kinds of hats, canes, and umbrellas, the newest perfumery, the costumes of every country on the globe, the inquisitiveness of local politicans and civil service reformers, and many other topics. The men who for years have discussed these problems in the "Amen Corner" are doctors, lawyers, politicians, Generals, Colonels, Captains, Majors, high privates, and citizens from all parts of the United States and Europe, Asia, and Africa. When all agree as to the solution of a problem under discussion each man says "Amen," and another problem is tackled.

Such is the Amen Corner, the brethren at which last night gave a dinner in the Fifth Avenue Hotel to Governor-elect Odell, who is himself one of the brethren, and who in the days that he was Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the State Committee sought advice from the habitues of the corner.

2 March 1902, New York Times, pg. SM3:
The "Amen Corner" in the corridor of the Fifth Avenue Hotel is a spot known throughout the length and breadth of the land/ It sprang into prominence with the establishment of Republican headquarters at the hotel in the early Summer of 1876.

28 September 1907, New York Times, pg. 7:
Gen. Furlong was one of the charter members and incorporators of the "Amen Corner."

5 April 1908, Boston Daily Globe, pg. 11:
"AMEN CORNER"
SAYS GOODBY

Fifth Avenue Hotel
Closes Doors.

5 April 1908, New York Times,"Fifth Avenue Hostelry and Its Famous Half Century," pg. SM4:
The "Corner" is almost as old as the hotel itself, but the name was acquired in the regime of Thomas Collier Platt as Republican boss of this State. Platt, whose sway was absolute, lived in the hotel. Reoublican politicians, great and small, congregated in the "Corner," seeking favors or awaiting orders. They discussed everything under the sun, and when they came to discussing political problems or questions of patronage and the dispensing of it, the opinions, necessarily, were many and very, very varied. Then some leader would journey upstairs "to see the boss." He would return with the "boss's" decision of the point under discussion, and no matter what diversity of opinion there had been before, every man-jack in the "Corner," referred to said "Amen" to Platt's dictum. A reporter who had heard this chorus day after day and night after night, dubbed the "Corner" the "Amen Corner," referred to it as such in his paper ,and the name stuck.

5 April 1908, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 5:
"AMEN CORNER"
NOW A MEMORY.

Fifth Avenue Hotel Passes
Into History After 49
Years' Existence.

6 April 1908, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 11:
AMENERS" MOVE
TO THE HOFFMAN

Fifth Avenue's Historic Cor-
ner Goes to a Nearby
Establishment.

1 April 1911, New York Times, "Hoffman House to close its doors," pg. 4:
When the old Fifth Avenue was torn down the Amen Corner moved to the Hoffman House, taking with it the two old oak benches that had been their meeting place for years. Probably not a dozen politicians have sat on these benches, however, in the last six months.

5 January 1913, Washington Post, "Origin of the 'Amen Corners,'" pg. M6:
The origin of the expression, "amen corner" is traced to England, where, prior to the Reformation, upon Corpus Christi Day, a procession of the clergy, starting from St. Paul's Cathedral, marching through Cheapside, commenced at the end of the street to chant "Our Father," or "Pater Noster." Along the whole length of the thoroughfare, now known as Paternoster row, they gave voice to this ancient anthem, so timing themselves that the amen would be reached at the corner, which to this day is known as the "Amen Corner." Hence the origin.

Among the famous "amen corners" of old London may be mentioned the "Mermaid Tavern," which probably is the oldest, and herein Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Raleigh and others nightly sat and chatted, and probably outlined many of the plays that have made Shakespeare renowned.

27 March 1924, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, "Bits of New York Life" by O. O. McIntyre, pg. 4:
The boys of the amen corner of the old Fifth Avenue hotel have lost another trusty companion in the death of Edward Riggs of The Sun -- known the world over as "Riggs of the Sun." Mr. Riggs was the American De Blowitz. Tom Platt, the Easy Boss, was shepherd of the amen corner. Nightly the republican clan gathered there.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNames/Phrases • (0) Comments • Wednesday, January 25, 2006 • Permalink