Posts Tagged ‘Florenz Ziegfeld’

A relic of a 1920s theater on East 80th Street

August 3, 2015

The remains of some of New York’s loveliest buildings can sometimes be found in the most unlikely places.

Ziegfeldgoddesshead

Take this carved stone head of a goddess. For decades, it’s sat outside the parlor floor window (between the garbage cans and coal hole cover) of the 1883 brownstone at 52 East 80th Street.

Ziegfeld19272The goddess head’s original home? The facade of the Ziegfeld Theater, an Art Deco gem that stood on Sixth Avenue and 54th Street for 39 years.

The theater, financed by William Randolph Hearst, opened to great fanfare; Florenz Ziegfeld’s renowned Follies were staged there.

But within six short years, it became a second-run movie house. By 1966, it met the wrecking ball.

Yet the goddess head survived the demolition—and it ended up on East 80th Street (below, with the copper bay window) because the owner of the home, a theater producer named Jerry Hammer, asked the right person for it.

Ziegfeldhousegoogle“Mr. Hammer said that in the 1960s he was riding in a limousine with the developer Zachary Fisher, who motioned to the old Ziegfeld Theater, at 54th Street and the Avenue of the Americas, and said he was going to demolish it for a new office building,” stated the New York Times in 2004.

Hammer asked Fisher jokingly if he could have it. About four months later,  ”’I hear noises outside, and it’s a truck with a crane, and a head, and they ask me where I want it,'” wrote the Times.

Hammer moved out, but the goddess head remains, a glorious relic of Roaring ’20s New York City.

[Second photo: Cinema Treasures; third photo: Google]

Christmas with a Ziegfeld Girl

December 23, 2009

The Ziegfeld Follies—the popular part-vaudeville, part-burlesque revue staged on Broadway every year between 1907 and 1931—was never known as a Christmas show.

But the 1915 Follies did feature one holiday-themed number, entitled “I’ll Be a Santa Claus to You.”

The lyrics go like this:

“I’ll be a Santa Claus to you
If you’ll but say you will be true
I’ll bring you toys
Millions of joys
Presents that money can’t buy
Yuletide will be our honeymoon
You’ll ride beside me and we’ll spoon
Christmas it comes only once ev’ry year
I’ll make it come ev’ry day for you dear
I’ll be a Santa Claus to you.”

Sweet and kind of suggestive for a song written almost a century ago.