4. The Academy of Music

interior of Academy of Music on 14th Street illustration
Illustration by Thomas Nast of the Academy of Music in 1876 from Library of Congress.

Uptown and downtown is another big theme in The Gilded Age. The Russells move from downtown, where it is no longer fashionable, uptown to 61st Street. Historically, this is where old and new money are building homes along Central Park. The same goes for the entertainment scene. Downtown becomes not only out of fashion but a bit seedy. The opera house for the old New York money set is downtown, on Irving Place and 14th Street. None of the new money set can get boxes there, so they eventually decide to build a new opera house.

For the filming of the Academy of Music, the production team of The Gilded Age made use of Troy once again. The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall was designed by George B. Post (who once had many buildings in New York City, most of which have been demolished) and built between 1871 and 1875. It is a unique mixed-use building, designed from the start with banking halls on the bottom floors and the music hall on the upper floors. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989 and the music hall is run by a non-profit.