A Ride and a Dance: 10 Cents

Forget “shave and a haircut two bits.” Dance halls where men could show up and dance with women for 10 cents a song were a hot ticket in cities like Chicago and New York in the late 1920s and early 1930s. These were places where a wide cross-section of lonely men could legally purchase some human contact a few minutes at a time. In 1931, there were at least 100 so-called “taxi dance halls” in New York alone, visited by as many as 50,000 men each week. The taxi dance halls survived into the mid-20th century in a diminished form, but were largely eradicated by increased social reforms and laws that targeted the popular dance halls. In 1952, only 10 taxi-dance halls remained in New York.