Maps of New York Music History

52nd Street in its jazz heyday, known as “Swing Street”. Photo by Gottlieb, 1948, New York

New York City Jazz Venues

A map of famous New York jazz clubs past and present that have played a role in New York City music history.

Map credit: Jon De Lucia

Below is a fantastic map of NYC night clubs from Jeff Whitmore. There are still many good ones missing but so much here. He writes:

“PLEASE READ This is better on desktop than on your phone. Some places are stacked into one pin, so use the search function if you get stuck. Also note, on desktop you can switch to satellite view (click image in far lower left of this window) I could scan the old Yellow Pages under “bars” and “clubs” and instantly upload thousands of listings. But that would include a lot of fly by night places that no one cared about. Too much chaff, not enough wheat. It is far more time consuming to take requests, but that will result in a higher quality map. This to me is the real map of New York. I do not recognize the city today. Manhattan’s clusters look like a dragon, no? Note: Very little of this is original. I made this resource for me and my friends to visualize history, for non-profit, educational use only; you can put this in your blog or whatever, but reuse for commercial purposes is strictly forbidden. It’s updated constantly anyway 😀 Be very careful if pulling quotes or images. While compiling this list, two strange words come to mind: “Kenopsia” – the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet—a school hallway in the evening, an unlit office on a weekend, vacant fairgrounds—an emotional afterimage that makes it seem not just empty but hyper-empty, with a total population in the negative, who are so conspicuously absent they glow like neon signs. “Anemoia” – Nostalgia for a time you’ve never known. Imagine stepping through the frame into a sepia-tinted haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals passing by. Who lived and died before any of us arrived here, who sleep in some of the same houses we do, who look up at the same moon, who breathe the same air, feel the same blood in their veins—and live in a completely different world. About Me I left the corporate world in 2000. I went from Don Draper to Timothy Leary. As I grew older, I learned to value art and style over money. Old Manhattan was golden, but new Williamsburg and Bushwick have been in many ways better. And I don’t like the whole bottle-service-catering-to-the-unhip-well-heeled-guidos trend that started in the 2000s and by extension, what New York has become. What Giuliani started, Bloomberg continued, and COVID finally finished off. Let all the big real estate mortgage backed security trusts burn to the ground so we can rebuild and artists can once again afford to do their thing in the great Babylon! That all said, I am still including everything for history’s sake. I’m the kind of guy who feels very sad when I see small businesses go under. Inspiration for when you get discouraged that so many places are gone

Jeff Whitmore”


Below is another fun map, also incomplete – as long as NYC is still around we can expect none of these maps will ever be finished or completely accurate as there is just way too much history to document everything and so many forgotten and presumably untold stories. This one attempts to map every place in NYC referenced in popular song. It appears to cover LA too, but let’s face it LA just can’t compete on this front, I’m pretty sure no place can. The current count is 381 for NYC to LA’s paltry 97. Though, as of this writing, this map was last updated in 2018. We have been logging songs that mention NYC or reference places here for quite a while; even just the songs that explicitly name NYC in their title appear to way outnumber songs about any other place in Earth’s history as far as we can tell. In fact, we are willing to wager that this is the case and offer a challenge to anyone who can give evidence to the contrary!

This map was created by Constantine Valhouli

This page is a work in progress, please check back for more maps to come soon.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Moment NYC (EIN #38-3943443) is a non-profit organization exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code and chartered as a NY state museum.