World Trade Center: The History of the Old Radio Row Take a look at the neighborhood around the World Trade Center before the buildings were built. A six-block area contained the largest collection of radio and electronics stores in the world.
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World Trade Center: The History of the Old Radio Row

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World Trade Center: The History of the Old Radio Row

World Trade Center: The History of the Old Radio Row

World Trade Center: The History of the Old Radio Row

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/131003628/130628866" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

"Radio Row" at Cortlandt Street in lower Manhattan, 1935. New York Public Library hide caption

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New York Public Library

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.

Radio Row, early 1960s. hide caption

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Then in 1966, the stores were condemned and bulldozed to make way for the new World Trade Center. As part of Lost and 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.