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 May 26, 2018
Thieves’ Market (between Delancey and Houston Streets in Manhattan)

There was a Manhattan market between Delancey and Houston Streets that sold items often of questionable ownership. The WPA Guide to New York City (1939) stated:

“The stretch between Delancey and Houston Streets is jocularly known as the THIEVES’ MARKET. Those who have any small objects to sell or exchange congregate here.”

Syndicated newspaper columnist Walter Winchell (1897-1972) wrote—or copied—in October 1944:

“The stretch between Delancey and Houston Sts. is jocularly known as Thieves’ Market. Those who have small objects to exchange or sell congregate there.”

The “Thieves’ Market” term is of historical interest today.


Google Books
The WPA Guide to New York City:
The Federal Writers’ Project guide to 1930s New York

By Federal Writers’ Project
New York, NY: Pantheon Books
1939
Pg. 120:
The stretch between Delancey and Houston Streets is jocularly known as the THIEVES’ MARKET. Those who have any small objects to sell or exchange congregate here.

10 October 1944, Times-Leader, The Evening News (Wilkes-barre, PA), “On Broadway” by Walter Winchell, pg. 18, col. 5:
The stretch between Delancey and Houston Sts. is jocularly known as Thieves’ Market. Those who have small objects to exchange or sell congregate there.

June 1949, Hearst’s International Combined with Cosmopolitan (New York, NY), “Winchell’s New York,” pg. 112, col. 3:
The stretch between Delancey and Houston Sts. is jocularly known as Thieves’ Market. Those who have small objects to exchange or sell congregate there.

Google Books
Clash of Eagles
By Leo Rutman
New York, NY: Fawcett Gold Medal
1990
Pg. 79:
They were right near the bend off Delancey Street, better known as Thieves’ Market. The peddlers would be out hawking their wares. What a place for a black market truck full of beef to stall.

Google Books
Homeless:
Poverty and Place in Urban America

By Ella Howard
Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press
2013
Pg. 24:
Between Houston and Delancey Streets, the eye was overwhelmed by the sea of signs announcing hotel names, including the Montauk, Savoy, and Puritan. Along the sidewalk, an informal “thieves’ market” of used and stolen goods was thriving.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Saturday, May 26, 2018 • Permalink