On Sunday, October 19th at 4pm we’ll be hosting a walking tour with historian and author David Freeland through the remnants of the area of Manhattan once known as The Tenderloin. This area, which turned into the northern part of Chelsea, was home to New York City’s red light district, its dance clubs and gambling houses. Following the tour, we’ll be hosting an optional cocktail at the hidden speakeasy Bathtub Gin. In preparation for the event, we’ve interviewed David about what we’ll see on the tour and what some of his favorite Untapped finds are in the city.
Tell us about what the Tenderloin was like in its hey day and why it’s such an important part of NYC’s history
The Tenderloin peaked from the 1870s to the years just before 1910. By 1910, it was essentially over. The Tenderloin really could not have existed at any other time, and in few other places, within New York history. Why? It developed specifically as a shadowy outgrowth of the luxury hotel industry, which blossomed along Broadway and the upper 20s during the last decades of the 19th century–beginning with the opening of Gilsey House (where we will start our tour) in 1871. Money flowed into the area, thanks to the influx of wealthy businessmen from the provinces–who came to New York with money to spend, and who were always looking for “after-hours” recreational opportunities!
Whitney Studio. Photo via New York Studio School
Today, the Whitney Studio in Greenwich Village was named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A birthplace of the Modern American Art movement the Whitney Studio served as the studio and private salon for the sculptor and arts patron, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and as the first site of the Whitney Museum of Art. Whitney was the oldest daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, whom you may remember from his over-the-top French chateau mansion on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.
Director Vanessa Gould, who previously helmed the documentary Between the Folds, just released a new trailer for a forthcoming work called OBIT: Life on the Dead Beat of The New York Times, a documentary about the obituaries and obituary writers at The New York Times. “One day the edition of the newspaper will come out, and with any luck there will be something about me in it, but I won’t be reading it,” says author Christopher Hitchens who opens the trailer.
Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading in the HQ today:
Where there are love locks, there are police cutting them down. Sometimes, it’s to keep a bridge from collapsing, as the case is on Paris’ Pont des Arts. In typical New York City style, the love locks are being complemented by trash, bras, condoms and more on the Brooklyn Bridge these days. Still, while The Washington Post reports that more than 9,000 love locks have been cut from the Brooklyn Bridge since last winter, and The NY Daily News found last month that “only a small strip of the bridge walkway appears to be the unofficial lock zone,” we discovered this past week that the locks are creeping back into some more adventurous areas., like the lamp posts above the roadway.
This is the final installment of our 3-part series on the Brooklyn Army Terminal. We’ve looked into where Elvis would have walked when he embarked, whether the place is abandoned, and what the deal is with the balconies in the main atrium. We hope you’ll join us for our upcoming Brooklyn Army Terminal tour on Sunday, October 26th, tickets below.
Brooklyn Army Terminal – that’s part of Industry City, right?