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 November 30, 2018
White Light Belt (Broadway)

Broadway is known for its bright lights, and has been called the “Great White Way,” “Bulb Belt,” “Incandescent District,” “Mazda Lane” and “Tungsten Territory.”

“White Light Belt” has been cited in print since at least 1906. It was infrequently used and was rarely used at all after 1950.


24 July 1906, Shreveport (LA) Times, “A Dead Game Sport,” pg. 6, col. 2:
This banking system was accomplished in a hotel in the White Light Belt, where he had stopped to break the long, thirsty journey back from the track.
(...)
-- New York Press.

10 August 1906, New York (NY) Times, “Bars Closed at 1 Sharp,” pg. 1, col. 6:
The same drought was noticeable in the theatre district last night that has prevailed there for the last week. All the restaurants in the white light belt shut their bars down tight on the stroke of 1, and only the very oldest patrons were able to get into them afterward.

29 November 1911, New-York (NY) Daily Tribune, “Broadway Once Dark,"pt. 4, pg. 16, col. 8:
The lights outside theatres and hotels in the “White Light Belt” alone keep 1,600 men busy day and night.

3 January 1915, New York (NY) Tribune, “New Productions,” pt. 3, pg. 4, col. 7:
“Sinners” depicts phases of life in the white light belt of New York, where certain men of great wealth and little occupation find amusement in night life carousals.

Google Books
The Ear in the Wall
By Arthur Benjamin Reeve
New York, NY: Hearst’s International Library Co.
1916
Pg. 258:
Suppose we walk a little way downtown with Carton?” he suggested. I was not averse, and by the time we arrived in the white light belt of Broadway the theatres were letting out.

9 March 1939, The Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY), “Walter Winchell On Broadway,” pg. 4, col. 1:
Amos ‘n’ Andy holidaying between broadcasts in the White Light belt.

4 May 1949, Standard-Sentinel (Hazleton, PA), “Broadway” by Mark Barron, pg. 13, col. 4:
NEW YORK—The tempestuous winds of censorship are beginning to sweep across Broadway again, and especially in the white light belt of West Fifty-second street, where hurdy-gurdy night club bars are filled with refugees from the burlesque wheels.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Friday, November 30, 2018 • Permalink