Monday, February 24, 2014


This article original appeared in 2010 and Harlem Bespoke is publishing the video once more in memory of The Nest Club.

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:

1 comment:

  1. My dad grew up on West 133rd St. b/t Lenox & 7th and one of his childhood friends, Alvin Reed of the Lenox Lounge also grew up around the corner on West 134th Street.

    My dad's family moved there from Charleston, SC in '46 when my grandfather got out of the army. My grandmother hated it, calling it "too active" and "...Open House all day and all night." She especially didn't like the "sportin' women" parading up and down the street. My aunt was a girl of 6 at the time and that was surely not something she wanted her only daughter exposed too. But according to my aunt, the "tutes" were nice and would sometimes give the children .25 cents for candy, etc., just because. She remembered some of them would ask; "...what did you learn in school today, honey?' or as they were enroute to church on Sunday morning; "y'all pray for me too sweetie."

    My dad said that he and Alvin and the other boys would press up against the doors of the clubs just to listen to the music until the bouncer would chase them away.

    Gone are the days!