The Jazz Age in Central Harlem took place alongside the flowering of visual arts, poetry, and prose sparked by the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and 1930s. Some name this era one of the most creative periods ever in the arts. Its remnants within Central Harlem attest to that statement.

On May 21st, join Untapped New York Insiders for a members-only walk through Central Harlem to see spots where the Jazz Age thrived and the Black music industry began after World War I. Mark Satlof, a 23-year-resident of Central Harlem/Strivers Row and an Untapped New York Insider himself will lead the tour that will focus on Billie Holiday’s life in the area. The event is free for Untapped New York Insiders (get your first month free with code JOINUS).

Billie Holiday’s Harlem Tour

On the tour, Insiders will follow in Billie Holiday’s footsteps, from her first residence in New York City to the site of her first performances less than 10 blocks away. Be ready to stroll through the famous Strivers Row, and see buildings, where jazz musicians lived and gathered in the 1920s.

Billie Holiday (left) at the Downbeat club, a jazz club in New York City, in 1947. Portrait of Lester Young (right) at the Famous Door in 1946. Images by William P. Gottlieb from the Library of Congress 

Later, Insiders will have the opportunity to peer into the modest parlor room that birthed the first Black record label and stand in front of the home of the most famous and influential early Black music publisher. You will visit 133rd Street — the original “Swing Street” — and see locations of the colorfully-named clubs (including the Tillie’s, Pod & Jerry’s) that made it the top jazz destination in the city during prohibition.

To step back into the Jazz Age, join us on May 21st. Satlof recommends sticking around afterward to get tips on lunch spots.

Billie Holiday’s Harlem Tour

Next, check out the history of Strivers’ Row!