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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“Where do you find a down-and-out octopus?"/"On squid row.” (1/23)
Five-Cent Series (Five-Cent World Series) (1/23)
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Entry from May 26, 2018
Ptomaine Road (Broadway, between 42nd and 49th Streets)

Syndicated newspaper columnist Walter Winchell (1897-1972) wrote in a column in March 1949:

“Sights You Never See on the New York Map: (...) ‘Ptomaine Road’ (a stretch in the Broadway 40s) littered with unkempt beaneries.”

“Ptomaine” then meant “food poisoning,” indicating Winchell’s low regard for Times Square’s restaurants. The name “Ptomaine Road” does not have any other known citations and is of historical interest today.


Wiktionary: ptomaine
Noun
ptomaine
(countable and uncountable, plural ptomaines)
1. (chemistry) Any of various amines formed by putrefactive bacteria.
2. (dated) food poisoning

23 March 1949, Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, “On Broadway” by Walter Winchell, pg. 25, col. 2:
Sights You Never See on the New York Map: (...) “Ptomaine Road” (a stretch in the Broadway 40s) littered with unkempt beaneries.

June 1949, Hearst’s International Combined with Cosmopolitan (New York, NY), “Winchell’s New York,” pg. 112, col. 2:
Sights You Never See on the New York Map: (...) “Ptomaine Road” (a stretch in the Broadway 40s) littered with unkempt beaneries.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Saturday, May 26, 2018 • Permalink