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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tin Pan Alley to Fall Under the Wrecking Ball

I'm making a rare break in the format tonight to report some sad news. Part of America's great musical tradition is being shamefully tossed to the dogs. It seems that a large chunk of buildings along West 28th Street in Manhattan, the stretch once known as Tin Pan Alley, is currently on the verge of demolition.

Real estate website Loopnet lists the block of 47-49-51-53-55 West 28th Street for sale at $44 million. The seller is recommending the buildings be torn down to make way for this soulless steel-and-glass mausoleum:

Named "Tin Pan Alley" due to the old-school tin ceilings that were used as cheap insulation, the stretch of West 28th between 5th Avenue and Broadway was the space that housed the publishing offices in which the likes of Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Vincent Youmans, the Gershwins, Johnny Mercer and so many others literally created much of the Great American Songbook during the first half of the 20th century. It's been sadly left in disrepair for decades, and today just a measly little plaque marks the historical significance of the spot.

Hopefully, with the current dire economic climate, there will be no fat-cat Philistine able to step in and commit this cultural atrocity.

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