A 1960s downtown rock club with an 1860s name

When the Academy of Music opened in 1854 on 14th Street near Third Avenue, it was New York’s premier opera house, an anchor of the city’s buzzing new “uptown” theater district.


It was also a favorite of the city’s Old Money elite in the 1860s and 1870s, who socialized in its “shabby red and gold boxes,” as Edith Wharton put it in her 1920 novel The Age of Innocence, while shutting out the New Money families they despised.

academyofmusic1870Considering what a haughty place it was in its heyday (right), it’s fitting that after the Academy was demolished in 1926, a movie-theater-turned-rock-venue opened up across the street and adopted the Academy of Music name, reported Bedford + Bowery.

More name borrowing: The rock version of the Academy of Music became the Palladium in the 1970s (with Julian Billiard Academy on the second floor). Today, the site is occupied by NYU’s Palladium dormitory.

[Photo: Harold C. Black of Teenage Lust via rockcellarmagazine.com]

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15 Responses to “A 1960s downtown rock club with an 1860s name”

  1. Joe R Says:

    I guess it’s worth mentioning that there was an earlier Palladium Theater up on 53rd Street. It was most famous for being the center of the mambo craze of the early 50’s.

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I didn’t know that, but here’s a link to a photo: Tito Puente on the marquee! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palladium_Ballroom

  3. Gc Says:

    On the current building con Edison, near the ray Moore and Flanagans there is a plaque stating that the academy of music once stood there

  4. Bella Stander Says:

    I saw Johnny Rotten with Public Image Ltd at the Palladium in about 1980. The show was god-awful. I walked out when I realized they were playing the theme from “Swan Lake.”.

  5. Harold C. Black Says:

    The Above Picture Is Mine! Please Credit HAROLD C. BLACK of
    TEENAGE LUST! Thank you HCB

  6. Harold C. Black Says:

    Honored my friend! Stop by and say Hello! HCB (FB)

  7. Product Reviews and Lifestyle Enrichment Says:

    […] via A 1960s downtown rock club with an 1860s name — Ephemeral New York […]

  8. Greg Says:

    The picture above is of a noticeably different building than the one Bedford & Bowery posted in the linked story

    Were there extensive renovations, or is one of the pictures wrong?

  9. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Renovations. In 1911 the Academy was transformed into a movie theater.
    See this image from the MCNY digital portal:


  10. Timothy Grier Says:

    I grew up in that neighborhood. I remember seeing movies (Planet of the Apes) and several bands. I caught this new act – a pianist named Billy Joel who was freaking out because he had never played such a large venue in his life. That was sometime back in the 70s.

  11. Local Resident Says:

    The Good ole days…I remember seeing YES, Emerson Lake and Palmer and others. The neighborhood was rough but I sorta miss what it was..

  12. Keith Goldstein Says:

    My first concert at the Academy in the early ’70s was John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. An unknown and pre-beard ZZ Top was the opening act. My last concert I attended there was Elvis Costello and the Attractions in the early ’80s. I miss it and Julian’s.

  13. Bruce Paley Says:

    Saw both Iggy Pop and The Clash there late ’70s, Iggy was touring eith The Idiot or Lust for Life, while The Clash brought out the then unkown (in America at least) Ian Dury as a guest performer. Great shows both.

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