2. Harlem Renaissance Ballroom

Harlem Renaissance Ballroom, abandoned
The Harlem Renaissance Ballroom once hosted wild parties and basketball games. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Harlem Renaissance Ballroom was constructed in 1924 in Harlem, which was a center for Black culture in upper Manhattan. The Ballroom, nicknamed the “Rennie,” held parties, concerts, and film screenings in its casino and a 900-seat theatre. Many came to the ballroom to dance to live jazz music. However, it was also a spot for professional basketball, as The New York Renaissance, also known as the Renaissance Big Five, played on the dance floor which was converted into a court, and set a record of 88 consecutive wins.

According to Abandoned NYC, the Renaissance Ballroom shut down in 1979 when it was unable to keep up with the new clubs popping up around the city. The Abyssinian Baptist Church bought the venue in 1991 with the hopes of renovating the spot and restoring the former community space. However, this plan did not pan out and changed in favor of the development of more expensive condominiums. While the former theater spot is now an empty lot, parts of the ballroom including the coat check area still remain.