A plaque on the sidewalk at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue commemorates Tin Pan Alley.
The term “Tin Pan Alley” is recognized by historians as having originated as the name for the strip of row houses running between Fifth and Sixth Avenues on 28th Street here in NoMad. It can be said without exaggeration that these blocks are where the American popular music industry began and where it saw its most prolific and diverse output. The name for this block gained such fame that it went on to become the figurative term for the whole of the U.S. music business. Today, “Tin Pan Alley” identifies neighborhoods around the world where musicians gather, such as Denmark Street in London.
“Tin Pan Alley” probably derives from several sources. Those of us who are older may remember using pots on New Year’s Eve as noisemakers up and down our block. This is a practice that actually began in Europe as a way of marking a marriage and was termed shiveree, charivari, skimmington or tin-kettling.