The Academy of Music (which was located at the corner of 14th Street and Irving Place) is considered to be the first successful opera house in New York City, though it has largely been forgotten. When it was constructed in 1854, the Academy of Music, which was located at the northern end of the city’s theater district, was a respectable place to go. However, by the early 1880s, the area had become the haunt of unionists and anarchists. Two different groups–New Yorkers unable to purchase boxes at the Academy because of its limited seating and patrons dissatisfied with the Academy’s location–decided it was time to build a new opera house. The influential group included W. H. Vanderbilt, W. K. Vanderbilt, Cornelius Vanderbilt, J. P. Morgan, and J. A. Roosevelt.
“The Operatic War in New York” between the Academy of Music and the newly formed Metropolitan Opera House (Puck Magazine 1883) (more…)
Frontispiece from King’s Dream of New York:
In 1908, Moses King published King’s Dream of New York, which depicted what the city could look like in the future. Illustrated by Harry Pettit, the book portrayed a fantastic future for the city which included the creation of many levels of roadways and walkways to service the multitude of pedestrians and automobiles that would occupy the future New York. This idea quickly captured the imaginations of architects, planners and engineers. In fact, few people realize that Grand Central Station embodies many of these ideas, with a conduit of traffic wrapping around the second level of the building.
Many such architect dreamers have yearned to leave a lasting mark on New York City. While the lucky few are able to realize their dream, an untold number never get that chance. Some of their plans never saw reality due to red tape or funding issues, while others remained on the drawing board because the city was not ready for their grandiosity. This is the first in a series of articles relating to architectural ideas that never took hold or were never completed in New York City. Presented below, in Part I, is a collection of images that represent New York City buildings that never were. In later articles, we will show you roadways, railways, bridges and universities, that were designed for New York and never constructed. (more…)