Tin Pan Alley faces demolition

The original Tin Pan Alley – the half-a-dozen Manhattan houses at the heart of the golden age of American songwriting – is under threat. A group of New Yorkers is fighting to save them, but their efforts may not be enough.

The four-storey, 19th-century buildings on West 28th Street were home to publishers of some of the catchiest American tunes – from "God Bless America" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to "Give My Regards to Broadway". The music of Irving Berlin, Scott Joplin, Fats Waller and other greats was born on this block, which resounded to a cacophony of competing piano music that, one journalist said, sounded like tin pans being pounded.

The houses were put up for sale for $44m, with plans for a high-rise on the site. The scheme fell through, but the possibility of losing the buildings has hastened efforts to push for protected status.