Best Un-Landmarked Music Landmark (Downtown) (2008)

30 Bowery

That dingy yellow-brick apartment lump at 30 Bowery, across the street from New York Noodletown? The old North American Hotel used to stand there, where blackface fiddler-songwriter Dan Emmett ("Dixie," "Ole Dan Tucker," "Turkey in the Straw") put together the first minstrel band in January 1843. According to everybody who saw them, the Virginia Minstrels thrashed away on their instruments—fiddle, banjo, bones, tambourine—with total abandon, stomping, hollering, and barking out the words in ragged unison. That's right, rock and roll. Thirty-one years later, with rare poetic justice, Stephen Foster—the guy who cleaned up minstrel music—took a fall in his room in the same hotel and was found in a pool of blood (he was, as usual, drunk). They hauled him off to Bellevue and he died a couple of days later.


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