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Vanished Venues: New York’s Latin Dance Explosion

Monday, January 31, 2011

Vanished Venues continues with a look at New York’s Latin music heyday. The mid-century mambo craze began at Manhattan’s Palladium Ballroom (not to be confused with the rock club of the same name) – but when it closed in 1966, the party didn’t stop.

We’ll hear how salsa reigned at the Cheetah, the Corso, the Hunts Point Palace and more, before they were all eventually shuttered. Guests include Elena Martinez, folklorist for the New York history nonprofit City Lore and producer of the film From Mambo to Hip Hop; and Orlando Marin, timbale player and bandleader.

Listeners: Did you dance at one of these vanished salsa clubs? Tell us your stories below!


Orlando Marin and Elena Martinez

Comments [21]

Formerly of B'klyn from NYC

As a teenager in the mid fifties I traveled by train from Brooklyn every Wednesday night to the Palladium, where I learned to dance "on two." I remember the thrill of ascending the narrow stairway to the club, stepping in tune to the cowbells and congas, anticipating the excitement of another evening of dance. At sixteen I bought myself a red conga drum and tried to play along with my Joe Cuba and Tito Puente recordings to help the week go faster until the next Wednesday finally came around again.

Jan. 31 2011 10:38 PM
Roger Barr

How can people not know that the term SALSA was introduced in 1928 by the Cuban band leader Ignacio Pinero in his son Echale Salsita. It's basic knowledge in Latin music law.

Jan. 31 2011 10:25 PM
tony hdez from nyc

Great , just that Great!!!!!!!!!!

Jan. 31 2011 09:15 PM
a g from n j

i'm going to ppa- "posting pigs anonymous".
another twist on spam. i guess............

Jan. 31 2011 02:44 PM

@steveH from B'klyn;

Try Record Mart in the subway at Times Square.

Jan. 31 2011 02:35 PM
Mike from Tribeca

steveH from B'klyn -- don't know where you can buy the album or if it's still in print, but if you do the "download thing" it's available on-line from several music blogs, as you'll discover if you Google the band and album title. Terrific record indeed.

Jan. 31 2011 02:30 PM
a g from n j

i distinctly remember a solitary afro-american couple dancing to "fly robin fly" between sets at the corso.

Jan. 31 2011 02:26 PM
HAVANA CARBO/aka Gladys Carbo from Weehawken NJ

Nice to hear the music of Cuba - but the word SALSA is an American invention - in Cuba, the land of so so many different styles of music, a mambo or cha-cha-cha or rumba or conga - all were referred to by the style - no self respecting Cuban would ever call it Salsa. Everyone danced in Cuba, and its music goes from Bolero (originally from Cuba in the Province of Oriente), the danza, danzon, guajira, bolero son, the era of 'filing' greatly influenced harmonically by US jazz, and music which the current government has tried to silence - Bolero was first heard in the 1800's and eventually Puerto Rico, Mexico and others developed their own version of Bolero - each one distinguishable to the educated ear and easy to tell the country where it came from but all quite beautiful
I wish people were able to discern the nuances of Cuban Music - including classical, which was highly influenced by Spain and France.
I"m a Cuban born singer of Bolero, jazz and Brazilian and I focus on the lesser known boleros. I get asked more than I care to remember if I sing SALSA - imagine if the world thought American music consisted only of THE BLUES or of Square dancing or of's time for a more extensive musical education - I've done my best as you can hear in my body of work. [] I'm happy to have this group on your show - wonderful if the public learned the differences and variety of rhythms of the music of Cuba...Un saludo a los invitados de hoy ...!

Jan. 31 2011 02:25 PM
steveH from B'klyn

Allegre All Stars

Best record ever is
Cuban Jam Session,

All through my High School Years!!!!!

Where can I get it now?

Jan. 31 2011 02:25 PM
Alexander from Harlem

Saw Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra last night at Brooklyn Bowl. They are interpreting indie hits into Salsa Dura and doing a great job.

Jan. 31 2011 02:22 PM
Mike from Tribeca

Great segment! Looking forward to seeing the movie, and such a pleasure listening to Maestro Orlando Marin!

Jan. 31 2011 02:19 PM

Great show, but can you please ask your guests to avoid "Latino" and distinguish between Dominican, Cuban, Puerto Rican...gracias, mi gente!

Jan. 31 2011 02:18 PM
Cassandra from Bushwick

What about Gonzalez y Gonzalez? They will be shutting down (and replaced by a Chipotle restaurant) tonight after 22 years! I've only been going for the last 4 years, but during that time, it has definitely been one of my favorite NYC venues for live salsa bands and dancing.

Jan. 31 2011 02:18 PM
Siouxie from Bronx

A lot of mention here of Eddie Palmieri, who no doubt deserves it.

But what about his talented brother, the late great Charlie Palmieri? He was a wonderful man and musician.

Jan. 31 2011 02:15 PM
a g from n j

it was great that you could ask a lady to dance[with the exception of sadie hawkins night,it was almost always the guy who asked] and you would be able to dance and that would be it,or not. i remember scibbled phone #'s on club napkins, in pen, pencil, and lipstick. i remember when salsa bands also played merengue,then you had seperate bands who specialized. eventually,salsa and merengue parted ways,and played at genre specific events.
i, do so wish, more people would post,i am starting to feel greedy..........

Jan. 31 2011 01:37 PM
Christine Sotmary from New York

In 1973I danced in all the clubs up and down Jerome Ave. usually on the second floor. You could look out and see the #4 train. Don't remember the names of the clubs. Always had live bands and never arrived before 1 a.m. and danced 'til dawn.
Came back to Salsa 3 years ago and much has changed in the dance. More spinning and a younger crowd mixed in with their elders (me).

Jan. 31 2011 01:17 PM
a g from n j

i wonder how much the competitive nature of salsa bands,and the whole culture of band battle, and lyrics reflective of such,had to do, with never really getting a foothold, on club ownership,not different from the fania records fiasco,and recording rights that were never fairly accredited and dispersed. an inequitable record co,who knew...........

Jan. 31 2011 12:45 PM
a g from n j

yeah cool,nyc,cuba,spain as in the language,french court music, as in charanga,flute and strings,african as the base root foundation that drives the sound. puerto rican bomba and plena,jazz,folkloric sounds, of virtually all of the spanish speaking americas,pop,classical,boogalo,and on and on.
why not expand and argue for discussion of as much inclusion as possible. is it really so important, to try and nit pick over the particulars of where something came from or who should claim the exlusive[or exclusionary ?] rights to an art form. to what end,and to what higher purpose? somehow the venues got lost in the showdown over musical origin,and silly petty, artistic origination triumphalism.

Jan. 31 2011 11:49 AM
heli from NYC

heli's a obituary in salkatalks about dr. boggs.

Jan. 31 2011 11:29 AM

i'm too young to have danced in any of these joints but wanted to mention that i had a wonderful sociology professor (and salsa&cuban music scholar) some 25 years ago; the late Vernon Boggs, who wrote a book on salsa and "nyc sociology" . I believe it was called "Salsiology"...haven't been able to find it myself but here's an NYT except of a review on it i found online.

A collection of essays and interviews by various writers, all compiled by Vernon Boggs, a salsa scholar and fan, the book traces the development of salsa with a bias toward making it clear that the music developed in the United States. Mr Boggs interviews everybody from a salsa booking agent, Ralph Marcado, to the pianist and composer Johnny Colon; there are chapters called `Back to Africa: The `Reverse’ Transculturation of Salsa/Cuban Popular Music,’ and chapters on how to play salsa. `The major focus of the book is to point out how salsa came about,’ said Mr. Boggs. `There is so much interpretation about it, and I wanted to lay it to rest, to explain how the music came from New York. The lyrics of the music are in Spanish and unfortunately for Americans, when you speak any other language, then it’s foreign; xenophobia exists. Salsa is American music, from New York. it’s like a house: you can see it has a foreign foundation, from Cuba, but its structure is New York. It’s as American as apple pie.

Jan. 31 2011 11:14 AM
a g from n j

the cork and bottle.......barney blanca.......ipanema.......el mariposa & el trocadero-dubby hts. mentioned, the corso-sort of a mecca, i guess......cheetah-before my time..............the original palladium/palladium-before any hint, or inkling, of a three step,on any beat,with my toddler feet.

Jan. 31 2011 12:40 AM

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