The Tenderloin was a once-seedy neighborhood in the heart of the New York City borough of Manhattan. Police Captain Alexander S. Williams allegedly coined the term in the late 1870s. This district was in Midtown Manhattan from 23rd Street to 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue, much of which is known now as Chelsea and the Garment district. The northwest corner of the Tenderloin was Longacre Square, now called Times Square.
The Tenderloin was a red-light district. The raffish reputation of the Tenderloin's 1890s bordellos, repeatedly raided by Anthony Comstock's vice squad, was recreated in the 1960 Sheldon Harnick-Jerry Bock musical Tenderloin, based on a novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams.
Its 'Main Street' was Broadway, between 23rd St. and 42nd St., known in the early 20th century as 'The Line'.
The Tenderloin of the early 20th century is described from a police perspective in Behind the Green Lights, the memoirs of Police Captain Cornelius Willemse. Owen Davis set a series of tales for the Police Gazette in the Tenderloin, in the dance halls and resturants of The Line. They were later collected as 'Sketches of Gotham' (1906) by 'Ike Swift' (pseud.).
The name appears to have fallen out of favor in the 1940s, when massive redevelopment of the area removed much of the associated stigma.
- Origin of name
- Tenderloin, the musical
- Middle class Blacks start to leave for Harlem.
- "Clubber" Williams coined the term "Tenderloin": "I've had nothing but chuck steak for a long time, and now I'm going to get a little of the tenderloin."[dead link]
- See section titled "The Tenderloin" on page 2. Also called "Satan's Circus".