The “loud and lurid” Haymarket on 30th Street

In the late 19th century, the Tenderloin district—from Madison Square to the West 40s along Broadway—was the city’s boozy, sleazy, party area, kind of like Times Square in the 1970s.

Incredible New York, by Lloyd Morris, describes it this way:

“Here were located the most noted gambling resorts and brothels, the garish saloons, restaurants and dance halls where prostitutes solicited customers, the shady hotels and lodging houses where couples without luggage could hire rooms by the hour or the night.”

But no place in the Tenderloin was as sinful as the Haymarket, here painted by John Sloan in 1907.

“The Haymarket—which combined the attractions of a restaurant, dance hall, and variety show—saw to it that you did not lack feminine companionship,” wrote Morris. “The fun, like the females, was loud and lurid.”

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9 Responses to “The “loud and lurid” Haymarket on 30th Street”

  1. The “loud and lurid” Haymarket on 30th Street | New York Blogs Says:

    […] […]

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    A young boy with a hoop running past and a young girl walking by has me thinking how evil was the area anyway…?

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    Maybe the neighborhood was on the upswing by 1907, kind of like Times Square 10 years ago. Or reformers’ efforts to clean it up started paying off?

  4. A Chelsea block lined with brothels in the 1870s « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] other brothels on nearby blocks. This was the city’s post–Civil War neighborhood of vice, called the Tenderloin, a stretch of 23rd to 42nd Streets between Sixth and Eighth […]

  5. The most sinful side street in 19th century New York | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] from the Bowery, no neighborhood in late–19th century New York packed in as many saloons, music halls, gambling dens, and brothels—lots and lots of brothels—as the […]

  6. Confusion and despair in the Tenderloin District | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Sloan seemed to have a fascination with the Tenderloin; the same year, he painted the neighborhood’s “loud and lurid” club, the Haymarket. […]

  7. Jon Phillips Says:

    The cultural historical perspective that should be kept in mind when looking at John Sloan’s paintings of the Tenderloin from 1906 onward, the shadow of Harry K. Thaw’s murder of renowned architect of the the era – Stanford White, over the ‘honor’ of Evelyn (“girl on a swing”) Nesbit, in the very public setting of Madison Square Rooftop Garden restaurant, fell over all New York High Society. The White-Nesbit-Thaw scandal revolved around the Tenderloin and its ‘entertainments.’ The murder and trail dominated the front pages not only of such publications as the New York Tribune, the the New York Times as well. Nesbit came to fore not only as a showgirl and nexus of this scandal – but as a beloved Gibson Girl, and ubiquitous icon (and model) of innocent (not so innocent) lust of the Gilded Age advertising and magazine covers.

  8. trilby1895 Says:

    I share your fascination with the White murder and events and individuals leading up to it. I hope you had the opportunity to visit 22 west 24th Street before the building collapaed in 2007 since this was the site of the infamous Red Velvet Swing. When I discovered this brownstone in about 2000, I was amazed that the building was still extant after over 100 years. So sad when buildings of historical import are either destroyed or burn or for other reasons cease to exist.

  9. What remains of Jefferson Market’s police court | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] to process the nightly haul of “prodigals” trucked down in police wagons from the vice-ridden Tenderloin district in today’s […]

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