9. The Demolished Metropolitan Opera House
Ceiling decoration, 1966. Image via The Library of Congress
The original Metropolitan Opera House opened in 1883 on 39th Street and Broadway, closer to the city’s emerging mansion district. Its arrival spurred the development of the theater district that centered around Long Acre Square. The opera house was designed by architect J. Cleaveland Cady. The interior of the Metropolitan Opera House was redesigned by Carrère and Hastings after a fire in 1892. The gilded auditorium had a proscenium arch inscribed with the names of six classical composers and elaborate, carved ceiling details.
When the Metropolitan Opera decided to relocate to Lincoln Center in the 1960s, the future of the existing building was called into question. Ironically, the Metropolitan Opera Association supported its demolition, fearing competition if another opera company took over. Due to questions over the integrity of the architecture, the building was not landmarked. It was demolished in 1967 and replaced with an office skyscraper.
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