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We have a detailed history of Tin Pan Alley thanks to invaluable information from the Historic Districts Council in their “Brief-ish History of Tin Pan Alley” written in 2008, and Michael Minn in his piece “Tin Pan Alley”, part of his “New York City” photography collection project. As both accounts cover both overlapping and different information, we present them both below. Many thanks to them both for their thorough and dogged research and insightful presentation.
Tin Pan Alley Today
The Rise of NoMad and
Its Effect on Tin Pan Alley
The preservation of Tin Pan Alley, 28th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue, was aided for many years by the absence of development in that area of New York City. For decades, the ground floor businesses on that block were part of the informal area referred to as the Wholesale Flower District, which then slowly morphed into the mix of storefront flower sellers and wholesale import-exporters which exist today. The upper floors are small businesses, tech firms, and loft living spaces, and if you look up you can see glimpses of the buildings as they used to be in the era when Tin Pan Alley reigned supreme. There are many established artists and photographers in the area as well, taking advantage of the loft and commercial spaces in buildings here. Around 2009, the area was discovered and started to be known as "NoMad" (North of Madison Square Park).
Tin Pan Alley was sold to a developer
With the recent rise in popularity and development of the area, this has all changed. The demand for hotel development sites skyrocketed after the success of the first hotel project, the Ace Hotel at 29th Street and Broadway, and demolition of small buildings in the area to combine into large parcels for development has increased drastically year by year.
As a consequence, all of the remaining buildings that constitute Tin Pan Alley– 45, 47, 49, 51, 53, and 55 West 28th Street, were sold as a parcel to a real estate developer. Because of the large size of the parcel and the buyer’s experience in New York City real estate development, we were afraid that Tin Pan Alley would be demolished to make room for high-rise development.
If the above had transpired, Tin Pan Alley would have ceased to exist.
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