David Freeland is the author of Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure, a must for any New York city buff. He takes you into secret passageways under Chinatown, remnants of a bygone Bowery beer hall, a rooftop film studio and more. Freeland seeks to find continuity through history, using the lens of leisure activity in New York. Untapped covered the book last year and then explored the lost “H” in Williamsburg(h) with Freeland in Brooklyn.
Recently, David associate produced a segment for the Channel Thirteen series, “The City Concealed” on the history of Swing Street in Harlem. “The City Concealed” checks out New York’s rich history in the city’s hidden remains and overlooked spaces and accordingly David explores the now abandoned club that started the whole jazz movement on 133rd Street, “The Nest.”
The bars were meccas for the personalities and performers of the time, including Duke Ellington, Mae West and Billie Holliday, and the street had the highest concentration of speakeasies during Prohibition than anywhere else in New York City. Check it out: