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

Renaissance Ballroom

Harlem used to be known for the swank of its dance palaces, but time hasn't been gentle with them. Urban renewal wiped out the Savoy (it used to stand at 596 Lenox Avenue) and the Cotton Club (644 Lenox Avenue). The shell of Small's Paradise (229 1/2 Seventh Avenue) is barely recognizable, and the Manhattan Casino (Eighth Avenue and 155th Street) is a parking lot. But the old Renaissance Ballroom—where bands like Fletcher Henderson's, Jimmie Lunceford's, and Count Basie's used to tack 'em down—still stands on the southeast corner of Seventh Avenue and 133rd Street, mossy, boarded up, and sporting the occasional sapling growing from the cornice, but unbowed and clearly recognizable. If you stand there long enough, you'll swear you can hear Louis Armstrong and Lester Young blowing through the weathered plywood.


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >