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 04, 2015
Radio Row or Electronics District (Cortlandt Street)

New York City’s “Radio Row” was a collection of electronics retail and repair stores that was located on Manhattan’s Cortlandt Street. City Radio opened the first store on Cortlandt in 1921, and the name “Radio Row” was first cited in the New York (NY) Times in 1927.  Radio declined in the late 1950s and the terms “Electronic City” or “Electronics District” were sometimes used.

Radio Row was destroyed in 1966 for the construction of the World Trade Center.

Wikipedia: Radio Row
Radio Row is a nickname for an urban street or district specializing in the sale of radio and electronic equipment and parts. Radio Rows arose in many cities with the 1920s rise of broadcasting and declined after middle of the 20th century.

New York City
Construction and existence

New York City’s Radio Row, which existed from 1921 to 1966, was a warehouse district on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, New York City. Harry Schneck opened City Radio on Cortlandt Street in 1921, creating Radio Row. Radio Row was torn down in 1966 to make room for the World Trade Center. It held several blocks of electronics stores, with Cortlandt Street as its central axis. The used radios, war surplus electronics (e.g., ARC-5 radios), junk, and parts often piled so high they would spill out onto the street, attracting collectors and scroungers. According to a business writer, it also was the origin of the electronic component distribution business.

Radio Diaries
When Ground Zero was Radio Row
When City Radio opened on Cortlandt St. in 1921, radio was a novelty. Over the next few decades, hundreds of stores popped up. The six-square-block area around Cortlandt Street in lower Manhattan was a bazaar of radio tubes, knobs, and antenna kits. Metro Radio, Leotone Radio, Cantor the Cabinet King. For more than four decades it was the largest collection of radio and electronics stores in the world. Then in 1966 the stores were condemned and bulldozed, to make way for the new World Trade Center.

New York (NY) Times
July 24, 1927
RADIO JUBILEE IS PLANNED FOR AUTUMN; Dealers Along “Radio Row” to Celebrate Opening of Season In September
PLANS are being completed for a “radio jubilee” for Sept. 6 to 10, along Radio Row, the name given by radio fans to that portion of Cortiandt and Greenwich Streets where within two short blocks approximately $22,000,000 business in retail sales was done during the past year, according to Dudley H. Cohen, director of the “Downtown Radio Jubilee.”

New York (NY) Times
September 06, 1927
‘RADIO ROW’ BEGINS ITS JUBILEE TODAY; Cortlandt Street, Gay With Flags and Bunting, Is Ready for Week of Festivities. MISS NEW YORK’ EXPECTED With Acting Mayor McKee, She Is to Open Celebration—Maryland Teacher Named “Radio Queen.”
This is an important week for Cortlandt Street. The Radio Jubilee opens there today. For years the street has been left out when Channel swimmers, ocean fliers and foreign rulers have ridden up Broadway through showers of ticker tape, pages from telephone books and shredded newspapers.

Google News Archive
29 August 1928, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “New Yorker At Large” by G. D. Seymour, pg. 4, col. 6:
NEW YORK—Down in Cortlandt street, between lower Broadway and the west Manhattan waterfront, loud speakers lift all day an impenetrable din.

They are the raucous herald’s of radio’s bargain row, where vacuum tubes and A batteries and trickle chargers are vended just as fish are hawked in South street or fruit and vegetables along the teeming curbs of the east side.

Four years ago a redio dealer opened in Cortlandt street a branch outlet for disposal of surplus goods at cut prices. Other shops followed, and today probably no equal area anywhere contains so many radio wares. It enters in the single block between Greenwich and Washington streets, where 18 dealers in radio equipment have crowded out everything but a pet store, a lunch counter and a cigar shop.

To the Highest Bider
A distinctive feature of Radio Row, next to the pandemonium of its belching loud speakers, is its auction sales. Several shops dispense goods only under a crier’s hammer.

New York (NY) Times
May 25, 1930
BEDLAM ON RADIO ROW; Downtown Mart Continues Its Musical Pandemonium, but Meanwhile Sells Cameras and Golf Balls A Bewildering Clamor. A Bucket of Condensers.
DOWN in Greenwich Street, where Cortlandt Street intersects it and the Ninth Avenue Elevated forms a canopy over the roadway, stands New York’s Radio Row, probably the greatest agglomeration of radio dealers’ shops in the world.

New York (NY) Times
NEWS OF REALTY: MASS MOVEMENT; Cortlandt St. Radio Row Is Shifting to Midtown
January 13, 1966
Section Business & Finance, Page 65, Column , words
The electronics industry of Cortlandt Street’s radio row, soon to be displaced for the 110-story World Trade Center, seems to have decided on its new home. The greatest concentrated leasing activity by concerns expecting to be displaced has been on West 15th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

OCLC WorldCat record
Remembering Radio Row
Author: Karl T Thurber Jr
Publisher: [Farmingdale, NY : Gernsback Publications, c1988-
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Popular electronics. 13, no. 1, (1996): 39
Database: ArticleFirst

New York (NY) Times
Published: September 30, 2001
East Side Trade Center
Q. Was the World Trade Center originally planned for another site? I’ve heard that it was first envisioned as an East Side development.
To coordinate trade center construction with improvements to the railroad, which terminated on the West Side near the Hudson, the site was shifted to Manhattan’s old electronics district, which was bordered by West, Vesey, Church and Liberty Streets. In 1964, Minoru Yamasaki, the project’s architect, unveiled his plans for a pair of 110-story towers.

‘Radio Row’
The neighborhood before the World Trade Center

Produced by Ben Shapiro and Joe Richman
Assistant Producer Elinoar Astrinsky
June 3, 2002—When City Radio opened on New York City’s Cortlandt Street in 1921, radio was a novelty. Over the next few decades, hundreds of stores popped up in the neighborhood: Metro Radio, Blan the Radio Man, Leotone Radio, Cantor the Cabinet King.

The six-square-block area in lower Manhattan became a bazaar of tubes, knobs, hi-fi equipment and antenna kits. It was the largest collection of radio and electronics stores in the world.

Then in 1966, the stores were condemned and bulldozed to make way for the new World Trade Center. As part of Lost & Found Sound’s Sonic Memorial Project (in collaboration with NPR and WNYC), we take a look back at the people and stories of Radio Row.

OCLC WorldCat record
A LOOK BACK IN TIME: The legendary Radio Row, amateur radio’s connection to the World Trade Center site
Author: Dick Ross
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Radio Magazines, c1945-
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: CQ : the radio amateurs’ journal. 58, no. 9, (2002): 26
Database: ArticleFirst

Downtown Express
Volume 19 Issue 50 | April 27 - May 3, 2007
Tour guide looks to save remnants of ‘Little Syria’
By Skye H. McFarlane
Wedged in between the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the World Trade Center site, filled with a hodgepodge of rambling old buildings and high-rise parking garages, the area now known as “Greenwich St. south” can often feel like a lost neighborhood.

But when tour guide Joseph Svehlak glances at 103-109 Washington St., he sees a living architectural reminder of a once-vibrant immigrant community — a reminder he’d like to see preserved for future generations.

The Lower West Side, west of Broadway from the Battery up to Chambers St., has been known by many names over the years. During the Progressive Era it was “Bowling Green Village” and “Wall St.’s back yard.” Before the World Trade Center demolished its upper reaches in the late 1960s, it was the “Electronics District” or “Radio Row.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Tuesday, August 04, 2015 • Permalink