10. Metropolitan Opera House

 “A full house, seen from the rear of the stage, at the Metropolitan Opera House for a concert by pianist Josef Hofmann, November 28, 1937.” Image from National Archives and Records Administration from Wikimedia Commons

The original Metropolitan Opera House opened its doors on October 22, 1883 on Thirty-ninth and Broadway. The architect, J. Cleveland Cady was responsible for the design of the building in 1883. After a fire in 1892, architects Carrere and Hastings redesigned the lavish interior. They created a gold auditorium which included the largest proscenium in America at the time, inscribed with the names of six composers: Beethoven, Gluck, Gounod, Mozart, Verdi, and Wagner. The famous gold damask stage curtain was not installed until 1906.The two architects also restored its Diamond Horseshoe box seats where the Vanderbilts and Astors watched the performances, along with five thousand others.

Operas were performed up until April 1966. There were several plans in place to save the Met Opera House from demolition, including the attempt to raise $8 million dollars and an effort to declare the building a city landmark by the Metropolitan Opera Association. Both attempts failed and fearing another company taking over the building, The Metropolitan Opera Management fought and sued to have their own building destroyed. They got their wish in 1967 a year after the new Metropolitan Opera House opened at the Lincoln Center in 1966.