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
Tin Pan Handle Alley (West 50th Street and Eighth Avenue)

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

“Sights You Never See on the New York Map: (...) ‘Tin Pan Handle Alley’ (50th Street near the bus terminals) where the mendicants ply their rackets more than any other Manhattan spot.”

“Tin Pan Handle Alley” is a blend of “Tin Pan Alley” and “panhandle” (to beg for money). Winchell wrote at a time before the December 1950 opening of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, when New York City had several bus terminals.

The name “Tin Pan Handle Alley” does not have any other known citations and is of historical interest today.


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: (...) “Tin Pan Handle Alley” (50th Street near the bus terminals) where the mendicants ply their rackets more than any other Manhattan spot.

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: (...) “Tin Pan Handle Alley” (50th Street near the bus terminals) where the mendicants ply their rackets more than any other Manhattan spot.

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