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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 13, 2005
Murray Hell (Murray Hill + hell)
The New York Observer has called the Murray Hill section of Manhattan "Murray Hell." The strip of Third Avenue, between 29th and 38th Street, just has too many young people.

The horror!

11 July 2005, New York Observer, pg. 1:
Welcome to Murray Hell!
Lizzy Ratner

The strip of Third Avenue that runs between 29th and 38th streets in Manhattan is more than 1,500 miles from Club Med Cancun, but on sticky summer nights it could easily be mistaken for that spring-break frat-trap where youth is ascendant and every hour is happy hour. On almost any evening, the bars lining the strip pump and grind to the beat of screechy-boozy flirtation, while "Mambo Number Five" blasts over the sound system like a bad bar mitzvah memory. Girls in Seven jeans nuzzle up to banker-boys in baseball caps. The boys ply girls with Raspberry Stoli. Everywhere the night gyrates with the sound of suburban kids at play in the big city.

And yet, despite the riot of youthful hormones, there is something about this neighborhood, known as Murray Hill, that eerily resembles a Florida retirement resort. Perhaps it's the dedication to challenge-free living, or perhaps it' s the abundance of ready-made leisure activities. But swap happy hour with the early-bird special, and it's little Boca in the big city.
With her party-girl personality and not-quite—New York sensibility, Lauren is the classic Murray Hill Girl: a being of sheltered origins and country-club aspirations, overpriced jeans and, yes, skinny legs. (Her male counterpart has many of the same traits, except he wears overpriced cargo shorts and pastel-striped button-downs.) Once, not long ago, she wouldn't have been caught dead blowing her parents' money on an apartment in this solidly middle-class, family neighborhood. It just wasn't the thing to do—particularly for girls who'd been told never to rent south of 59th Street.

But in recent years, Murray Hill has been all but glitz-bombed from existence as a horde of coddled post-collegians, armed with marketing jobs and U. Penn diplomas, has swarmed into the neighborhood. For these kids, who are almost all white, almost all affluent, living on "the Hill" has become a rite of passage, like, say, getting a car for their 16th birthday. Drawn by the leafy streets and 30-story mega-buildings, they have turned the area into their own pseudo-urban Promised Land. And they keep coming.

18 July 2005, New York Observer, "Hell to Pay," Letters, pg. 4:
Ms. Ratner rags on these young Murray "Hellions" for their cell-phone-toting, happy-hour-loving existence. Yet in a city whose citizens are notorious for their isolated character and aloof demeanor, why must we criticize these young people for trying to foster a sense of community in this daunting, often impersonal place?

Rebecca P. Eskreis
Murray Hill

7 August 2005, New York Times, "Dull is Beautiful: Learning to Love The Tedium Of Murray Hill" by Leslie Eaton, The City, section 14, pg. 1:
Recently, thanks in part to funny postings on Web logs like Curbed.com, my neighborhood has developed a different reputation, one that prompted The New York Observer to call it ''Murray Hell.'' That's because of the invasion of kids just out of college, who swarm Third Avenue every Thursday night, lurching in and out of sports bars, slopping each other with beer (if male), teetering around in heels (if female), and gibbering into cellphones (both sexes). It reminds me to be grateful that I am middle-aged.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • Saturday, August 13, 2005 • Permalink

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