Redditer Kareck shared yesterday in the Swingdancing subreddit this fantastic graphic of "Harlem Nite-Spots circa 1923-1930." A part of a larger collection of materials and recordings owned by Joseph Jeffers Dodge, archived at the Harvard University Library, this map lists 46 "Nite-Spots" and their locations in Harlem, New York during the height of the Jazz Era.
There are some well-known clubs on the map, of course: Smalls Paradise, the Renaissance Theater and Hall, the Savoy, and the Cotton Club. But there are so many other tantalizingly named other spots -- Alpha P.C., Goldgraben, Library, Harlem Hospital (?), Ideal Tennis Courts, and Car Barn. Personally, I'm dying to visit World Chop Suey Rest.
By the way, at least one spot is still there. the Harlem YMCA is still near the corner of 7th Avenue and 135th Street. So maybe add that to your list of historic spots to visit next time you are in New York City.
This is not the first map of Harlem nightlife we've come across. Many of us have seen this more whimsical 1932 illustration of Harlem nightlife, created by E. Simms Campbell.
What the first map lacks in local flavor, it makes up for in specificity and accuracy in representation. What must it have been like to walk down those busy streets on a Saturday night in 1925 and hear that sweet music coming out of cafes, clubs, and bars?
Of course, now I want both of these maps in my home. I'm sure you do too.
[Hattip: Kareck on Reddit]