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Tin Pan Alley fans try to save classic American songwriting enclave

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  • pdqblues
    A fight to save a bit of musical history is being waged for the buildings of Tin Pan Alley. Tin Pan Alley fans try to save classic American songwriting enclave
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 9, 2008
      A fight to save a bit of musical history is being waged for the
      buildings of Tin Pan Alley.


      Tin Pan Alley fans try to save classic American songwriting enclave

      http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20081109/news_1n9tinpan.html

      By Verena Dobnik
      ASSOCIATED PRESS

      November 9, 2008

      NEW YORK – A group of New Yorkers is fighting to save Tin Pan Alley,
      the half-dozen row houses where iconic American songs were born.

      The four-story, 19th-century buildings on Manhattan's West 28th Street
      were home to publishers of some of the catchiest American tunes and
      lyrics – from "God Bless America" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to
      "Give My Regards to Broadway."

      The music of Irving Berlin, Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, George M. Cohan
      and other greats was born on Tin Pan Alley.

      The buildings were put up for sale this fall for $44 million, with
      plans to replace them with a high-rise. The construction plan fell
      through amid the turmoil in the economy, but the possibility of losing
      the historic block hastened efforts to push for landmark status for
      Tin Pan Alley.

      "The fear of these buildings being sold for development crystallized
      their importance, and the need to preserve them," said Simeon Bankoff,
      executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a nonprofit
      preservation organization aiming to secure city-landmark status for
      the buildings, which would protect them from being destroyed.

      New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission is "researching the
      history of the buildings and reviewing whether they'd be eligible for
      landmark designation," said Lisi de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the
      commission.

      No date has been set for a decision.

      From the late 1880s to the mid-1950s, the careers of songwriters who
      are still popular today were launched from the buildings at 45, 47,
      49, 51, 53 and 55 West 28th St.

      Nearby, high-rise condominiums have pushed out old brownstones. The
      four-story Tin Pan Alley buildings house street-level wholesale stores
      selling clothing, jewelry and fabrics; eight apartment units fill the
      upper floors.

      It's a noisy neighborhood, with trucks beeping as they back up amid
      street hawkers selling bootleg movies and knockoff perfumes. A century
      ago, the windows of music companies broadcast a cacophony of competing
      piano sounds that earned the area the nickname "Tin Pan Alley," to
      describe what one journalist said sounded like pounding on tin pans.

      © Copyright 2008 Union-Tribune Publishing Co. • A Copley Newspaper Site
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