Jimmy Ryan's

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Jimmy Ryan's was a jazz club in New York City, USA, located at 53 West 52nd Street from 1934 to 1962 and 154 West 54th Street from 1962–1983.[1] It was a popular venue for Dixieland jazz.[2]


The location at 52nd Street was one of a row of brownstones with clubs operating in basements. As the last surviving jazz club on 52nd Street, its brownstone — along with all the other brownstones on the north side of the street — were demolished in 1962 to make way for construction of the new CBS Building. CBS had given Jimmy Ryan nine thousand dollars to relocate.[3][4] The club was owned by partners Matthew C. (Matty) Walsh (1914–2006) and Jimmy Ryan (1911–1963). Walsh, Ryan's brother-in-law, continued ownership following the death of Ryan in July 1963 at the French Hospital. Gilbert J. Pincus (1907–1980) — who served as doorman from 1942 to 1962 at the original location and from about 1963 until his death in 1980 — became known as the "Mayor of 52nd Street."[5][6][7]

Jazz style[edit]

During the 1940s, three New York nightclubs stood out as centers for traditional style jazz: Jimmy Ryan's, Nick's in Greenwich Village, and Eddie Condon's just a few blocks away.[8]

Performing artists[edit]

Resident musicians from the 1940s

Sunday jam sessions, organized and managed by Milt Gabler

Looking east from 6th Avenue, 52nd Street in at night (May 1948); photo by William P. Gottlieb (cropped)

Jazz tunes relating to the club[edit]

  • Tony Parenti and his Dean's of Dixieland, "A Night at Jimmy Ryan's," Jazzology (1967)
Max Kaminsky, Conrad Janis, Davis Quinn, Joe Henshaw, Zutty Singleton
  • "Down in Jungletown" (renamed "Down at Jimmy Ryan's")
  • "Blues for Jimmy Ryan"
  • "Live at Jimmy's", a complete album was recorded live there in 1973 by Maynard Ferguson.


  1. ^ John S. Wilson, Jimmy Ryan's, A Shrine to the Same Old Jazz, The New York Times, September 24, 1976
  2. ^ Jazz A-Z, by Peter Clayton & Peter Gammond (born 1925), Guinness Books (Guinness Superlatives Ltd.) (1986); OCLC 15353474, 76750957
  3. ^ Bill Crow, Jazz Anecdotes: Second Time Around, pg. 116, Oxford University Press (2005) OCLC 224377631, 775055946 ISBN 0195187954 ISBN 9780195187953
  4. ^ Arnold Shaw, 52nd Street, The Street of Jazz, pg. 242, Da Capo Press (1977, 1983) OCLC 468129109, 3002082, 470090841 OCLC 462372683 ISBN 0306800683 ISBN 9780306800689
  5. ^ John S. Wilson, Gilbert J. Pincus, 73, Jazz Club Doorman and Mayor of 52nd Street, The New York Times, February 7, 1980
  6. ^ Biography Index, A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 12: September 1979 – August 1982, H.W. Wilson Co., New York (1983) OCLC 83009305, 50355220, 183279994
  7. ^ Arnold Shaw, The Street That Never Slept, New York's Fabled 52d St., McCann & Geoghegan, New York (1971) OCLC 205864
  8. ^ William P. Gottlieb, The Golden Age of Jazz, pg. 13, Pomegranate Communications, Inc. (1995)