Tuesday, November 9, 2010

☞ REMEMBER: The Speakeasies of 133rd Street

Channel 13 has their new City Concealed series up for the 2010 season with the first story on the main Swing Street of Harlem in the 1920's and 1930's.  The blocks between Lenox and 7th Avenue at the time had the most dense concentration of speakeasies in the entire uptown village. Unlike many of the bigger established clubs (i.e Cotton Club), these business were owned by African-Americans and served an integrated clientele. Mae West apparently dated one of the owners at The Nest, Tillie's Chicken Shack founded its first outpost, and Glady's Clam Bar was owned by lesbian proprietor Gladys Bentley. Check out the Channel 13 site for more details: www.thirteen.org


  1. I'm there already. My father lived on W. 133rd in the mid 40's to late 50's and the owner of the Lenox Lounge was from 134th Street. I remember my paternal grandmother saying how loud & noisy West 133rd St. was back in the day-I think they called it Jungle Alley.

  2. I find this all to be really sad. I have passed by 169 countless time and have often wondered what it was. Now I know that it is a burnt out shell. This is not at all what I was expecting. We get so excited that we might get a Whole foods or a Hyatt. Like that is going to somehow put us on the map. All of this amazing history is being lost. There was a discussion in a previous post about whether this is a second Harlem Renaissance. In my opinion it’s a Harlem travesty as we lose the culture and history of our community.

  3. Wonderful history lesson...makes me homesick !!