Join us and uncover the vestiges of The Tenderloin, also known as “Satan’s Circus” back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Picture classy men in top hats up to no good, for The Tenderloin was home to New York City’s brothels, dance clubs, and gambling houses. On October 19th, join us for a tour through the fascinating remains of The Tenderloin district and Tin Pan Alley with historian David Freeland.
This neighborhood of “elegant vice” in the west 20s no longer exists as it used to due to zoning changes to Sixth Avenue in the 1990s. Back in its heyday, “The Tenderloin” developed its name from Police Captain Alexander Williams who was stationed in the district. In response to being questioned about corruption, he remarked, “I told a newspaper reporter that I had been eating rump steak down in the Fourth precinct and that I would have a chance now to eat some of the tenderloin.”
The Tenderloin is also home to Tin Pan Alley, the deliciously grimy block on 28th street which housed the major music publishing companies of the early 20th Century. According to Freeland, Tin Pan Alley was truly “of” the Tenderloin district, because musicians would test out their songs in the nearby clubs.
The tour will meet at the Gilsey House, an historic luxury hotel which was the first in New York City to offer telephones to their guests. While the building no longer functions as a hotel, it is a registered landmark, and it is known for its cast-iron facade.
After uncovering the secrets of The Tenderloin neighborhood, we will head over to the Chelsea speakeasy Bathtub Gin for an optional cocktail. Our tour guide, David Freeland, has authored Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure, and 50% of tour proceeds will benefit the Historic Districts Council.
The tour is on October 19th at 4:00 p.m. Book tickets below or by clicking here.