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'Radio Row'
The neighborhood before the World Trade Center

Produced by Ben Shapiro and Joe Richman
Assistant Producer Elinoar Astrinsky

Radio Row circa 1935
"Radio Row" at Cortlandt Street in lower Manhattan, 1935.
Photo courtesy New York Public Library

June 3, 2002 -- When City Radio opened on New York City's Cortlandt Street in 1921, radio was a novelty. Over the next few decades, hundreds of stores popped up in the neighborhood: Metro Radio, Blan the Radio Man, Leotone Radio, Cantor the Cabinet King.

The six-square-block area in lower Manhattan became a bazaar of tubes, knobs, hi-fi equipment and antenna kits. It was the largest collection of radio and electronics stores in the world.

Then in 1966, the stores were condemned and bulldozed to make way for the new World Trade Center. As part of Lost & Found Sound's Sonic Memorial Project (in collaboration with NPR and WNYC), we take a look back at the people and stories of Radio Row.

Thanks to: Jonathan Kern, John Terry/Antique Radio Classified, Francis Yonkers, Picture Projects, Ed Schneck, Andy Lanset and Morton Brody, WCBS Reports (CBS/BBC Archives) and Fox Movietone Newsreel

Radio Row, early 1960s
Radio Row, early 1960s.

Other Resources

To see and hear more -- audio of radio advertisements, sounds from Radio Row captured in 1929, photos and much more, visit the Sonic Memorial Project Web site at


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Copyright 2002 The Kitchen Sisters