The pre-Lincoln Center Metropolitan Opera House

Before the Met relocated to the Upper West Side in the 1960s, its home base was this Romanesque beauty on 39th Street and Broadway.

Built in 1883, it enjoyed a decade or two in the center of the city’s theater district near the luxe mansions of the 40s and 50s, before the theaters moved northward and midtown in the 30s became the Garment District.

This postcard is stamped 1906—60 years before the Met lost a bid for landmark preservation. It was reduced to a pile of bricks in 1967.

Tags: , , , , ,

8 Responses to “The pre-Lincoln Center Metropolitan Opera House”

  1. Josie Says:

    But it was glorious. I went to the old Met several times, standing room. I felt the new opera house at Lincoln Center was tawdry by comparison.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Too bad a streetcar like the one in the postcard wasn’t around to take you there!

  3. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    One time in the early 1960s, I was about 15, 16 years old and wandering through the streets of Times Square I found myself at the backstage doors on 7th Avenue. A show was going, I could hear the shouts and applause when a stagehand called to me and asked if I want to make some money. “Hell, yeah!” I answered but another stagehand asked, “How old are you anyway, kid?” Needless to say but I didn’t make any money that night still years later when I finally did work as a stagehand at Lincoln Center in the upper 60s and I always remembered that story and told it to other stagehands. Were these the sons of the old stagehands? I’d wondered…

  4. kbsalazar Says:

    My grandmother took me to matinee ballet and opera performances in the peasant’s seats, all the way up in the top row. It was close enough to the ornate ceiling to touch it. Which being a grade school kid, I did. The place was a palace. She kept her subscriptions after the Met closed and moved to Lincoln Center. The new building was grand, but had all the personality of an elevator compared to the fantasy of the older one. I’ll never forget watching the show just inches beneath a canopy of golden flowers.

  5. aidel Says:

    Absolutely heart-breaking!

  6. thepassenger Says:

    My grandparents’ engagement announcement says that my (maternal) grandfather worked at the Metropolitan Opera House Studios. I believe this would have been some time in the mid to late 1920s. Any idea how I might find out more about this? It seems likely it would have been housed in this building somewhere.

  7. wildnewyork Says:

    I really don’t know, can anyone help?

  8. The country chapel still standing on 42nd Street | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] well-heeled congregants was architect J. Cleveland Cady, the designer behind the original Metropolitan Opera House, part of the American Museum of Natural History, and dozens of churches and synagogues in and […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: