Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Latin Quarter

I've just picked up a small collection of nightclub souvenir photo folders, all from the same source, all from New York City, and I'll be publishing them on an irregular basis, grouped by nightclub and folder design. They must have been owned by a woman, because they all smell of the same perfume.
The Latin Quarter was opened by Lou Walters, father of newscaster Barbara Walters, in 1942. It was located at 1580 Broadway, near 47th Street. The original Latin Quarter, also owned by Walters, was in Boston. The Quarter was famous for it's on going floor shows, chorus girls and some of the biggest headliners of the day, including Frank Sinatra, Sophie Tucker, and the Andrews Sisters. Walters sold the club in the 1950's. New ownership increased the skin and made it a more adult nightclub. In 1969, the unionized chorus girls went on strike. Already at a disadvantage from competition with rock clubs, unable to pay it's rent, the Latin Quarter closed. In 1969, it reopened as the Cine Lido, an adult art house, specializing in European porn. In 1978, the theater closed and reopened as the 22 Steps Disco. From 1979 through 1984, the building was a legitimate theater, first named the 22 Steps Theater, then the Princess Theater, and then the Latin Quarter Theater. In 1984, the building was, once again, a nightclub. Still named the Latin Quarter, it was one of the first clubs in the New York hip-hop scene. Renamed the Penguin Club, it was notorious for fights, shootings and stabbings. The building was torn down in 1989. Anyone interested in the history of New York area nightclubs should visit www.tipsontables.com. Specifically for the Latin Quarter, www.tipsontables.com/latinquarter.html. Stamped on the back of the folder, "SOUVENIR PHOTO $1.00 REMEMBRANCE OF A PLEASANT EVENING AT LATIN QUARTER. For extra copies write to: PLANETARY PHOTO 311 West 34th Street, BRyant 9-7440 Ask for number on back of photograph." Written in pencil on the inside front cover, "To Susan and Evelyn-My best and everything good to two great girls-and here's to our most delightful time, such as we had tonight. Affectionately Don McGrace." As always, click on nightclub in the labels section to bring up more old nightclub souvenir photo folders.

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