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 July 05, 2004
Tin Pan Alley
Christopher Gray of the New York Times did a nice article about "Tin Pan Alley" on July 13, 2003. I gave him the earliest known citation for the name, from this World article by Roy L. McCardell:

3 May 1903, THE WORLD (NY), pg. 4M (Metropolitan section on Sunday):

A Visit to "Tin Pan Alley," Where the Popular Songs Come From.

"Tin Pan Alley?"—It's Twenty-eighth Street Between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, the Centre of the Song Publishing Business in This Country, and it Gets Its Name from the Jangling of Pianos That Are Banged and Rattled There Day and Night as New Songs Are Being "Tried On." Every Day You'll See Noted People in the Musical Comedy World Hunting in the "Alley" for Songs That Will Add to Their Fame—Paula Edwardes, Marie Cahill, Blanche Ring, Dan Daly, Marie Dressler and Lew Dockstader Active in the Hunt.

STRANGE are the ways of Tin Pan Alley. Great is the influence of Tin Pan Alley upon our country's songs. For here they are conceived, originated, brought forth and spread broadcast.

Tin Pan Alley is that part of Twenty-eighth street that lies between Broadway and Sixth avenue. Here centre the song-publishing houses of New York.

It gets its name from the tin-panny sounds of pianos that are banged and rattled there by night and day as new songs and old are played over and over into the ears of singing comedians, comic-opera prima dinnas and single soubrettes and "sister teams" from vaudeville.

Now, "Tin Pan Alley" is considered a term of reproach by the Tin Pan Alleyites. They prefer to designate it as "Melody Lane." But that is a poetic fancy that those who go down that way to hear the "new, big, screaming hits" do not indulge in.

Tin Pan Alley contains all the music publishing houses of note save four—Joseph W. Stern & Co., in East Twenty-first street; Whitmark & Sons, on Twenty-ninth street, off Broadway; Howley, Haviland & Dresser, on Broadway at Thirty-first street, and Sol Bloom, in the New Zealand Building, a little higher up. These act as outposts for Tin Pan Alley. (...)
Posted by Barry Popik
Streets • (0) Comments • Monday, July 05, 2004 • Permalink