Under the shadow of slavery and a growing prohibition movement in the 1840's, Pete Williams established Almacks -- one of the first black-owned and operated bars in New York City. Williams transformed the 19th century speakeasy in Five Points - a neighborhood notorious for crime and written off as a slum - into and immensely popular and vibrant and cultural space.
The seedy streets of Five Points loomed with dodgy gangsters and dangerous liaisons, but a vivacious nightlife scene thrived within Almacks' clandestine walls. Couples drowned in the syncopated tunes of a newly emerging jazz-infused rhythm, City Hall politicians sealed deals with dark suited businessmen over moonshine whiskey. Bright-eyed sailors fixated on the swaying hips and flirtatious gazes of seductively silhouetted women and Master Juba tap dancer extraordinaire, hypnotized the colorful crowd with his spins, shuffles, cuts and cross-cuts, and dazzling finale on the bar counter.
This vibrant spirit and underground mystique is at the core of 67 Orange Street - It's name is a tribute to the address where Almacks last stood; It's founder Karl Franz Williams connected to Pete Williams by name and vision. From 19th century Five Points to the new 21st century Harlem, the legacy of 67 Orange Street continues.