Wednesday, January 9, 2013

☞ REMEMBER: Harlem Club Rivalries

Feuding club owners have a bit of history in Harlem and the building just around the corner from the Red Rooster at West 126th Street was the site of notable rivalry.  The Plantation Club opened in the late 1930's just around the corner from Lenox Avenue and was the main competition for the Cotton Club in the Renaissance years. Apparently the new club hired away the famous Cab Calloway from the competing Cotton Club in an effort to make the new hot spot uptown.  Most of these establishments were run by the white mafia of the time period and what happened next made it into the New York Times :

 "GANGSTERS WRECK HARLEM NIGHT CLUB; Nine, With Crowbars, Knives and Axes Do $25,000 Damage to the Plantation. HERD EMPLOYES TO CELLAR Rip Up Dance Floor, Smash Mirrors and Destroy 200 Costumes. RAID LAID TO RACKETEERS Management Suspects Invaders, Who Escaped, Were Sent by Rivals of New Resort."

 The club was basically gutted with most of the interior hacked up and thrown outside to the curb. The proprietor would meet a mysterious, untimely death soon after the incident.


  1. Thank you so much for this! I walk by this building almost every day - it is a church and sits next to another equally charming church. Quite a lot of changes on that particular part of 126th street (between Lenox & 5th Ave).

  2. Ditto! Thanks for adding these historical notes to the site. I always enjoy them.

  3. Great idea to share these stories ! Adds to the site !