Nearby this spot, from the 1870s to the 1910s, stood the Haymarket, the
Moulin Rouge of New York's gilded age. A concert saloon, it was among
New York's first night clubs, when electricity first turned night into
day. The subject of a famous painting by John Sloan of the Ash Can
School, it tallied 5,000 visitors per day in 1903.
It stood at the nexus of New York civilization when Madison Square was
the center of the city; where the theater, high end residential, and red
light districts all came together. It was feet away from the Great White
Way, when the theaters came up Broadway from Madison Square. Across
Broadway stand today the Gilsey House (1869), the Breslin Hotel (1904),
and the beginning of high end residential Fifth Avenue.
A red light district in the Tenderloin (that reformists called Satan's
Circus) stretched along these side streets, west of Broadway from 24th
Street up the West Side. "A popular if not always proper resort in the
city," the Haymarket's national notoriety was due in part to a policy of
not allowing the "business" of prostitutes, pimps, gangs, and thieves to
be conducted on the premises.
In the 1910s it became a moviehouse run by William Fox, a former
garment worker, whose name is so widespread in the media today.
Contributed by Robert Amell NYC historian and