Bohemia Blog by Agent Heather Huff
If you are browsing rental properties in Harlem, there is no doubt that you have come across some of our beautiful units located in the Savoy Park Apartment Complex. With its new renovations, great amenities and spacious No Fee apartments (yes that's right, I said no fee!); they are definitely worth scheduling an appointment with us for your next home.
But, as people walk by Savoy Park, not many realize that in the not too distant past, that very spot held the heart of the Harlem music and dance scene: The Savoy Ballroom.
The Savoy Ballroom opened its doors in 1926 and was known as one of the finest ballrooms in the world. Measuring around 10,000 square feet and stretching from 140th to 141st Street along Lenox Ave, it was one of the only dance halls that was truly free from segregation and could hold up to 4,000 patrons. "Lindy hop legend Frankie Manning noted that patrons were only judged on their dancing skills and not on the color of their skin"
A night at the Savoy Ballroom was unlike anything else, where dance ruled the land, and people came from far and wide to test their skills against the very best. In fact, the North East corner of the ballroom was reserved for an elite group of professional dancers known as Whitey's Lindy Hoppers. Hopeful dancers would perfect their routines and vie for a spot on this sacred turf.
The Savoy Ballroom is where the Lindy Hop was birthed, but it also gave way to many other popular dance styles like "The Flying Charleston, Jive, Snakehips, Rhumboogie, and variations of the Shimmy, Mambo, and many more."
Of course, guests not only came to dance the night away, but to also hear some of the top big bands in town including a young Ella Fitzgerald as lead vocalist.
The Savoy Ballroom even took part in the "1939 New York World's Fair, presenting The Evolution of Negro Dance."
But even the success of the Savoy Ballroom could not save it from its closure in 1958, almost 30 years after it had open. It, along with the Cotton Club which was located on 142nd St, was demolished by the city to make way for their ever-growing uptown population.
You can visit the commemorative plaque on Lenox Ave between 140th and 141st St and try to imagine for a split second that you are wearing your favorite outfit, your lucky dancing shoes on your feet and are headed out for an unforgettable night at the famous Savoy Ballroom.
-Thanks to Wikipedia for the quoted texts, references and to The Savoy King for the amazing photos.
Here's a short clip about the Savoy Ballroom which aired on PBS : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr8MLXDThug