6. The Ballroom Was Once a Theater
Photo courtesy The Jane Hotel
When the Sailors’ Home and Institute was originally built, it contained an auditorium that was used for lectures, concerts and theatricals (of the amateur nature, notes the Landmarks Preservation Commission report). In a continuation of functionality, the auditorium was converted into a theater by Theatre for the New City in the 1970s, and the venue was later known as the Jane Street Theater which was in operation until 2005. It had a legendary status in the rock musical world, where Hedwig and the Angry Inch, tick tick…BOOM! (by RENT’s Jonathan Larson), and Million Dollar Club, had their initial runs.
The Jane Ballroom was opened in 2009 by entrepreneurs Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman. Though the ballroom has the feel of a space preserved through time, is actually carefully curated interior decoration job by MacPherson and Goode. According to the hotel, “it took several long evenings to catalog all of the art, antiques, and decorative touches [the designers] painstakingly gathered and installed in the ballroom. At its center: A giant mirrored disco ball from MacPherson’s Los Angeles home. An elaborate fireplace was salvaged from Belgium. Vintage tiles around the entryways were found in Argentina. A mirror framed with animal horns hails from Scotland. Wall art mixes pieces from India, auctions, and local artists. The front bar’s impressionistic stained-glass ceiling was custom-designed in South Carolina. A pair of lamps whose bases resemble turban-wrapped heads come from Connecticut. And don’t forget to look up; you’ll miss the pair of preserved peacocks suspended from the ceiling and the stuffed ram over the fireplace.”