A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 16, 2017
Piano District (Mott Haven, Bronx)

The South Bronx (in the Mott Haven area) was known for piano manufacturing in the early 1900s. In 2015—long after the piano manufactures left— Keith Rubinstein, a real estate developer and founder of Sumerset Partners, put up a billboard and proposed calling the area the “Piano District.” The proposed new name met with resistance from many of the residents.

There are several piano stores in Manhattan, at West 58th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, and that area is also infrequently called a “Piano District.”

Wikipedia: Mott Haven, Bronx
Mott Haven is a primarily residential neighborhood in the southwestern section of the Bronx borough in New York City. Zip codes include 10451, 10454, and 10455. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 1. Its boundaries, starting from the north and moving clockwise, are East 149th Street to the north, the Bruckner Expressway to the east, the Bronx Kill waterway to the south, and the Harlem River to the west.

Emily Adamek‏
who knew this city had a piano district?! just walked through it on 58th btwn 7th & broadway. this city really does have everything. #onlyNY
8:42 PM - 7 Dec 2012

Louis Potok‏
58th btwn 7th and broadway seems to be nyc’s piano district. 4 stores selling pianos on one block.
10:19 AM - 23 Mar 2013

New York (NY) Times
Mott Haven, the Bronx, in Transition
By C. J. HUGHES MARCH 25, 2015
The History
Mott Haven was once a piano district, though most of the early businesses are long gone. Beethoven Pianos, which repairs, stores and sells pianos in its warehouse by the Third Avenue Bridge — it also has a showroom in Manhattan — came later, in the 1980s. It has strong ties to the past: Its five-story brick building was part of Mott’s original iron works, said Carl Demler, Beethoven’s owner.

Developer Wants To Rename South Bronx the ‘Piano District’
There’s a new plan for a South Bronx waterfront project that’s being looked toward as an economic catalyst for the area. Originally conceived as a development with up to six 25-story waterfront towers,
Rubenstein has followed suit and renamed a section of the already-named neighborhood of Mott Haven “The Piano District.” His reasoning, according to Architects + Artisans, revolves around the neighborhood’s history as an epicenter for piano production in the early 1900s, “[V]irtually all the pianos made in America—with the exception of Steinways—were made here.”

Daily News (New York, NY)
From Port Morris to the Piano District: how a group of real-estate developers plans to change the face of the South Bronx
Friday, September 18, 2015, 8:09 AM
Real estate in the South Bronx is music to their ears.

A group of developers plans to build three 25-story residential towers in the Port Morris section of the Bronx — and they hope to rebrand the area with a name that comes to most as a surprise.

They want to call it the Piano District, for the instruments that were once made in the area, and at least one of the men involved thinks it’s a “great marketing idea.”

So you think the birth of hip-hop was born in the South Piano district? #WhatPianoDistrict #thegetdown #Netflix
5:37 PM - 1 Nov 2015

Xavier Pérez‏
@IAmKRSOne is it the South Bronx South South Bronx or the Piano District?

#WhatPianoDistrict ❌

#SouthBronxUnite ✊🏽
12:45 AM - 3 Nov 2015 from Bronx, NY

Published by
The Brian Lehrer Show
The South Bronx Reacts to Rebranding Efforts: ‘What Piano District?’
Play/Pause Listen 19 min Queue
Nov 9, 2015
A group of developers are trying to rebrand part of Mott Haven in the South Bronx as “The Piano District” - which is a nod to the piano factories that used to be there a century ago.

Eddie Small, reporter/producer for DNAinfo covering the South Bronx, explains why some community members are pushing back against the rebranding (using the hashtag #WhatPianoDistrict), describes pending plans to build luxury waterfront housing in the area, and talks about how a #BronxIsBurning-themed Halloween party thrown by the developers recently threw fire on local concerns about gentrification.

Piano District Billboard Ad GONE; Replaced With Ad for Ice Cream
By Ed García Conde on November 19, 2015
Piano District Billboard Ad GONE as shown in this image from local resident Carmen Santiago.
It was up for barely a month yet it made headlines around the world and now it’s gone—the Piano District billboard has been replaced with an innocuous ice cream ad.

The billboard display heralding the coming of luxury waterfront living and a rebranding of a neighborhood while promising to bring in “world class dining, fashion, and art” for many was a sign that gentrification was coming in and fast.

The Huffington Post
THE BLOG 08/22/2016 02:15 pm ET | Updated Aug 22, 2016
Swizz Beatz, Playing Clean Up, Helps Developers Rebrand The ‘Piano District’
By Josmar Trujillo
It all started when Keith Rubinstein, a real estate developer and founder of Sumerset Partners, bought up waterfront land in the South Bronx where he’s looking to build two gigantic luxury high-rise buildings. A five-acre space along the Harlem River will also be developed by Somerset to have high end stores and a waterfront promenade. In other words, Rubinstein, who’s put his Upper East Side mansion on sale for $84.5 Million, is doing for the Bronx what developers have already done to Brooklyn.

To make matters worse, an art party hosted by Rubinstein last year birthed the incredibly shitty idea that the South Bronx neighborhood should be renamed the “Piano District”. That gentrifying renaming attempt (think SpaHa—SpanishHarlem, or WaHi—Washington Heights) was the source of much drama, igniting a firestorm on Twitter last year with the hashtags #WhatPianoDistrict and #TheBronxIsNotForSale.

Connect (commercial real estate)
Mott Haven Becomes “the Piano District”
February 17, 2017
The Mott Haven neighborhood in the Bronx is becoming more desirable. So, inevitably, some real estate pros gave the neighborhood a brand new name: the Piano District.

The story is a lesson on the limits of rebranding. Developers Somerset Partners and the Chetrit Group took out a giant “Piano District” billboard to promote their plan to build 1.2 million square feet of apartments on their development site at 2401 Third Avenue along the Harlem River waterfront back in 2015.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • Thursday, March 16, 2017 • Permalink